As we gathered this morning by the newly repaired road, the chill shadow of our pretty red cliffs in the east gave way to the bright rays of a warm day’s Sun. After some running games to warm our bodies, and “noodle ninja” to sharpen our minds and open our senses, we brought our minds together by sharing gratitude in our tradition of starting every day with Thanksgiving.
The late morning saw the return of our epic capture-the-flag style game, “Coyote Steals Fire.” This is the same game we played last week, in which the boys vied to steal matches from the instructor’s camp. Today, however, they dodged through a wild wasteland of piled flood debris and the tall trees that survived the flood. Behind any fallen log a Yeti might lay in wait for unwary Coyotes. The boys used teamwork, strategy and their growing knowledge of stealth to distract and sneak past the Yeti, this time scooping up live coals from the “Yeti’s” fire. Carefully tending the coals, they stalked and darted back between patches of bright sunlight and the shadows of old embattled pines to the Coyote’s waiting fireplace, where they lit our lunch fire.
As the warm day’s Sun passed its high point in the south and we finished eating and laughing, Marcus told us a story about tracking elk, in which we learned about how elk communicate using body language. Then, we broke into four groups of three and, renouncing human language, set off for a deer-like wander on the land. The same stealth skills we used in our game now came to new use by helping us walk among the birds and other critters of our riparian habitat in a peaceful way, without sending out great ripples of disturbance. Our efforts at such courtesy were rewarded with a couple close encounters with feathered and furry ones, and a greater feeling of connection with the land.
More wordless stories were gathered than could be told, either in our closing circle or here. Beautifully gnarled old junipers, quiet Jays, gurgling streams, mink tracks, wet feet, scouting, and subtle quiet feelings inside our bodies are just a few of the experiences that bubbled up into the realm of words to be articulated at our last circle of the day.
Next week, we look forward to working with fire in ever greater focus, as we craft bow drills and learn about how to make coals by using wood and friction.
Have a beautiful week.
See you then!