2/14: As the girls traipsed across the school yard in their pajamas, laden with sleeping bags and massive amounts of Valentine’s Day candy, my heart warmed. It felt wonderful to be together again. After congregating on the playground, the girls dispersed to all corners of the park. They used their intuition to locate our new meeting place where Darilynn and Nico sat waiting. Sophie was the first Heron to arrive in our blanketed pine cove.
Nico spiced up Thanksgiving by leading us to sing our thanks, then mimic the presenter if we agreed. We were all singing until Serena dropped a beat and rapped her thanks. Our songs didn’t stop with Thanksgiving as Wendy retaught us the Ancestor song. Over lunch we consumed a good number of Sweethearts and other Valentine’s goodies. We began the celebration for Darilynn’s birthday. Darilynn and a few of the girls drew Sacred Path cards, reading the corresponding words of wisdom from Wendy’s Sacred Path book.
The ladies opted to play Fox Tails. When tail-less Sophie and Daisy were waiting to be rescued, they convened at a small tree singing whimsical songs. We ran around yanking one another’s bandana tails until we were exhausted and out of breath.
After a sip of water, the Herons lounged on blankets as Darilynn told a dramatic story about a girl and a fire stealing dragon named Smaug. As our storyteller crept deeper into the drama of the story, the girls stopped fidgeting and became entranced by the suspense of the girl’s mission. Everyone rooted for the girl as she attempted to retrieve the fire Smaug had so viciously stolen from her people. Darilynn’s words painted a vivid image of a girl creeping so slowly that moss began growing over her body.
The story prepared us for a discussion about the Points of Awareness. First, the Herons found their sacred silence. Next, they practiced their fox walking. Finally, we incorporated owl eyes into our silent sneaking exercise. Everyone practiced these three Points of Awareness during our Smaug game as we attempted to steal fiery bandanas from the blindfolded dragon. Sophie was the first to channel her inner Smaug. Each time she sensed or heard someone trying to steal her fire, she’d point in their direction, sending the offender back forty paces. Despite her crinkly snow pants, Kaya successfully stole a flaming bandana and darted back to her starting place with ease. A string of girls waved their fiery bandanas around in celebration after completing their missions. Others of us, were repeatedly sent back to our starting positions empty handed. Smaug was a hit. Not everyone had the chance to be the dragon, but we will most definitely play this game in the future while building on other Points of Awareness.
Over tea and gluten-and-dairy free cupcakes, we went around the circle sharing what we appreciate about the person sitting next to us. Daisy and Georgia had a comic exchange involving bananas that left everyone giggling. The perceptive thoughtfulness of the girls was astounding. All compliments were accepted with grace. As our group headed home, many of us had Georgia and Sophie’s song, You are a Genius, playing through our heads.
2/21: Nestled under the wise willow branches, we introduced ourselves to Hattie, our visitor from across the sea. Each Heron shared their name, nature name and one of their favorite places in nature. It’s no surprise that Kaya’s favorite place is in the branches of a special tree. It was neat to hear about these significant spots. Georgia has her own Terabithia, while Daisy and Serena share a magical backyard place where they play Lost in Nature.
Thanksgiving was done in silence. The girls mimed what they were feeling grateful for. Despite the lack of words, I felt I understood what each Heron was portraying. Hattie sent us to lunch with a new song. While eating, our conversation turned to fairies. We learned that some of the English believe fairies can be found on the borders of places and time. I shared two magical stories about a photo of a fairy and the healing touch of a hawk’s feather.
As a group, we transitioned to the world of birds. In preparation for our game of Hawks and Flocks, pairs of Herons developed their own bird language. In Hawks and Flocks, pairs of bird girls work together to build warm, strong nests. They must watch out for deadly Cooper’s Hawks and thieving Steller’s Jays. As the game developed, the bird girls perfected strategies for protecting their nests and songbird friends. The Claras placed their nest under the protective branches of a pine, while two pairs of songbirds settled under the same tree in order to offer one another safety. Hattie, Georgia and I acted as hungry and obnoxious Cooper’s Hawks. We invaded the songbirds’ homes until three or more of the pesky little birds scared us off. When reviewing the nesting sites at the end of the game, we noticed a variety of building materials and protected locations.
Nico challenged the Herons to come up with a list of shapes found in nature. The girls identified concentric circles, ovals, squiggly lines, spirals and branching shapes. The ladies brainstormed several examples of branching shapes. They determined that our skin exhibits branching shapes when you spill a drop of ink on your hand. During the group discussion, one of our tree climbers discovered a squiggly dried vine. While wandering the park, the girls found specific examples of these shapes. Many of the Herons weaved through the cattails as they explored. Clara found a dry spiraling leaf. Serena even noticed circles while whittling.
With a short amount of time left, the girls decided to postpone the game of Smaug in order to write Trevanna notes. Clara H. used the medium of mud to decorate her note. Lorene will hand deliver our mail to Trevanna when she visits the East Coast this week.
While sipping a calming tea, Kaya, Georgia, Daisy and Serena gave us a Sweet Potato send off.