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  • Torreyanna Suttle

Rainy days and toasty tipis

This morning Cascade Mountain Ranch sparkles in a fresh sheen of recent rain. But for now the skies are clear and we strike off to see the water beginning to pool in the seasonal pond, so much new green sprouting life under our footsteps! A flock of wild turkeys nearby allows us to inch closer in quiet observance. We settle on the edge of a meadow under the majestic Madrones for our morning circle. Teacher Sarah shows us how to find dry bark on a wet tree, so we always know how to find tinder for our fire.

As we sit heartily enjoying our first snack, the sky opens up and sends us bee-lining for our tipi! It takes everyone’s quiet coyote ears to make a fire, soon we are all engaged in various activities.

We take turns focusing on finger knitting: “to find a pond is blue heron's wish, she/he dives in and catches a fish!” Soft and colorful chains that can become just about anything, well worth the effort.

Another sunny morning beckons us towards the largest, flattest meadow on the land, wreathed in mountains that are now dusted in snow! It is also the domain of our insatiably curious llama friends. We have learned to co-exist with them, and to most certainly eat snack elsewhere unless we’ve brought enough to share! But how excellent to run free and roam without restriction, hearts soar in the glow of the day.

Our powers of observance seem to be growing; it takes patience to huddle at the edge of the pond, whispering and watching the ducks float and glide as they snack on the bugs and pond life around them. We hear the geese overhead and hope they will come in for a landing. We gather up our gaggle and soar up the hill, noticing the flickers in the trees who are drawn to the stream by our tipi. Later there is rain so we cozy into our tipi for story time, games, and potato stamp party flags. We celebrate all things earthy! “For mountains so huge, for this great deluge, for friends and food, we thank you.”

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