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  • Torreyanna Suttle

May we all fly like eagles

As we gather together on a misty morning, we pause to hear the calls of geese. Are they taking off or landing on the pond? Because of all the recent rainfall, we strike out in the direction of an oak and madrone-studded hill, in the hopes of finding mushrooms! More than ever before, there are many to be found in an array of expressions. We take care to practice touching them with sticks, unless we identify them as edible. The puffballs are especially fun, releasing puffs of spores with a poke. Some white ones we later identify as gem puffballs, which are edible (when cooked of course). Following deer trails and our own inclinations we find ourselves in a small meadow ready for snack and morning circle with a view of the surrounding valley, covered in cold white fog.

Soon we take flight to our tipi to practice making fire. Shredding even smaller nests from cedar bark, we all take turns coaxing a spark from the bow drill. It takes time and patience to ‘birth a coal’.

In the coziness of our tipi we begin to work on our lanterns, tracing the moon and stars, making a special place for a flame to live. Lanterns are a lovely Winter Solstice tradition, bringing light into the darkest night.

Another chilly day ensconced in the clouds. Everyone is well bundled up and why not visit the pond to see if any bird friends are there? As we approach with our fox feet and quiet coyote ears we glimpse a few ducks feeding before they take off in flight. Skirting the edge of the pond we notice there are less tracks than before. Why might that be? It’s colder and there’s less food, perhaps some are nesting or migrating. The muddy shore is a delightful place to mindfully pitch rocks and watch them sink into primordial ooze. A mini-canyon nearby provides ample climbing opportunity with multiple root handles. We observe the softness of cliff edges after rainfall, making sure to give them at least a foot of space if exploring. There is so much to explore! Playing is the task at hand.

Today is a special day because our parents will be joining us in our tipi for our ‘thank you’ circle. We head to our tipi to finish our lanterns and prepare. We listen to the story of finding the night owl. Before you know it we are sharing cider and celebrating all the good times we have had together this fall semester. It’s so exciting to have our parents here with us! We head out into the cool raindrops to share some of our favorite circle songs and thank the earth for being our school. Thank you for everything, children, parents and teachers!

We are taking a break for the darkest coldest part of the winter, hibernating like the bears. We will resume classes for a spring semester in early February. Thank you all for your support and for reading along with us this season. Happy holidays!

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