November 29, 2018
Last Quarter Moon
Lake Lagunitas

Eamon and Uma absent.

All week long it was predicted that we would be rained on and it didn’t really happen but today, today  the rains came!  Yet, it was a sweet rain with which we were able to easily be in.  The clouds would fill up and up and up and then dump on us for a couple of minutes and then slow down to a gentle sprinkle.

We began the day with exploration and then an easy and small circle at the picnic table underneath the shelter.
From there we packed up and began our long walkabout.  It felt like a good day to simply walk and explore.  On days when it is a bit colder doing this is the way to go.

Luna was REALLY happy that Josie and she were playing together.  Ellie felt left out at times and so she got brought back into the fold with kindness.  At this age it is often the case where playing with one other child is the preferred. Learning how to open up a bit more is the practice. And, they did quite well.  This day, as many others, the inclusion begins small and by lunchtime, it expands to where they all are playing with each other.  And so that happened today, again.

As we began our walk Holden and Theo instantly wanted to go back and find the three Banana slugs that we found on Tuesday. We looked but, they were not there. WHERE DID THEY GO???  Watching and listening to them wonder about how these friends could move about was a delight. We, however, found Banana Slugs in DIFFERENT places!  And, on our walk we discovered, tracks, mud, old doggie poop bags thrown in an abandoned corner of an outhouse, plants, big puddles, a lone Ca. Newt swimming in a muddy puddle and lot’s of other Ca. Newts wandering about. On this day it felt very important to have them WATCH the Newts more than handle them. This was a bit hard for some and there was learning around respect for all creatures.

I found a trail never taken by Tender Trackers and went off on that to find our selves right at a bridge with water running under it. With Theo’s input, we decided to have lunch there. But first, they all thought it GRAND to go back and forth in the creek. How they loved this!  Wading in the gently rushing water and being able to get to the other side was their joy. I enjoyed watching Holden figure out that he could backtrack across the creek and get to the original side BEFORE the other children made their way across the bridge. He beamed with utter delight over his being able to get there first! How did he get to the other side so quickly thought the others.

When we sat down to eat it didn’t take long for the Cloud children to fill up and dump upon us but wait, wait, wait….it, again, was brief. Then, sprinkles then, clear sky, again.

The play after lunch was either trying to get the Troll from under the bridge or, THEY became the troll and Ruby and I had to be EVER so careful going over that bridge!!! They all were under there planning their fun.

On Tuesday Theo was sharing a story about how his Father almost stepped on a Crawdad and the Crawdad spread out it’s claws. I couldn’t really fathom this tale as I have only known Crawdads to live in the creeks not out of them.  So, as we were walking back Luna shouted with a fright and ran back from the puddle she was walking in. And, what did we see???? A MIGHTY CRAWDAD standing up tall with pinchers out and ready!!!  Oh my this was incredible and now, Theo’s story came to life.  We spent time noticing HOW SENSITIVE this little being was. The slightest movement and he moved himself to protect and defend his precious life.  Truly he was SOOOO valiant!

In order to alleviate this little friends own fear, I had us put our arms up like him and then slowly, slowly, slowly back away all the while noticing when his arms would finally drop down and it would feel safe again.  When it did that I had the children stay where they were and watch as I SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWWLLLLLYYYYYY stalked up to this new friend without him getting frightened.  It took a while and right as I was about to be able to touch him, I dropped my attention to look at the children and he raised his claws in defense.  And, in truth, it was time to move on.

After that Ellie and Luna, in particular, began to stalk in the same way and then Theo, and then Theo, Ellie and I hid behind trees, camouflaged, waiting ever so quietly to see if the others could find/ see us.  And, this continued on with most of them all the way back to the bus.

In the bus we got buckled up with just enought time for our picture/story of the day.

On the way back I played the Kalimba, sang and then told them a story of How the Song Funga A Lafia came to be. A story about Peace Making.


Nov. 28, 2018
Lake Lagunitas
Waning Moon

All were here and back from Holiday and Fires in warm and wonder-filled spirits. They came dressed and prepared for the rains of the day but…what, no rains???  That is right, all week long the weather report has been predicted for rain all week.  It just goes to show, learning to read the sky world is far better of an indicator than the weather report often times!

The day was cool to cold and back to cool and a perfect morning to make our first fire of the year and cook popcorn!!!  This year, for the first time, Tender Tracks got 2 gallon white buckets to be used for seats around the fire as well as anything else we can think of to use them for.  Buying such a thing was hard coming yet now that we are using them, well, they were a big hit, for all.  They could be considered  “open-ended toys!”

As we got out of the bus each child got their own bucket to carry to the fire pit and place around it and, so they did this.  With backpacks on the picnic table and bodies sitting on their buckets, I set up the fire material and told them a story about how fire came to be. It was actually Coyote trying to catch Rabbit. The faster Coyote chased Rabbit the faster they went. Faster, faster, faster, faster until they were a blur and then…..FIRE came and, that IS how it all began:)

And then, we sang the fire song that Coyote and Rabbit sang with hands and voice and the fire DID come. We built it up, then gave a magical wish and turn of the pot that the popcorn was in, put it on the campfire stove and waited for the first pop!  Some got tired of waiting and then came back to hear the music of corn kernels, oil, and fire dancing and singing as they do and then the popcorn pouring out of the popcorn maker!!

They each got their own bowl and ate up.  Interestingly this group ate so much less and/or was far less excited about eating popcorn than the Tues/Thurs class.  Every group is so very unique.  None the less they ate until they had enough, pee breaks and then play down by the water with the buckets.  They filled those buckets and brought them over to put out the fire as well as fill up the other creeklets nearby.  It was very impressive how well they all did.

Beau during this time however was quite tired and he and I stayed together just snuggling and seeing the world. It started because he really ! didn’t want to put the plastic bags over his new dry socks that needed to go into his very wet boots.  Why were his boots wet you might ask? Well, he decided to walk across the creek and discovered that it was a bit deeper than expected. 🙁  So, we snuggled and finally got his boot on WITH the plastic bags and he made it through the rest of the day.   Addie was fine today ACCEPT she did not like her beautiful brand new rain coat.  She did keep it on however as well as the rain suit.  Ellie was fine with her rain suit until close to the end of the day where she announced she didn’t like it. I took off her hood and unzipped it a bit and, all seemed to be well after that adjustment.  Nathan was one big happy camper and loved playing with Rohin and Beau.  Sienna too was happy and delighted with all that we were doing.  At lunch time she got a little cold and saw where the Sun was shining through.  “I want to go over there after lunch,” she said.  And so, when she packed everything up off we went to find the sun. One by one the others followed. We played some games, sat in the sun and I played them some familiar songs on my flute that I carry in my pack.
Ellery was not feeling well today it seemed with a stuffy nose and very, very sensitive throughout the day.  She looked and sounded like she was getting sick or very tired.  Rohin was happy as well as really learning about what it means to walk on the OUTSIDE of the circle not the INSIDE.  He has been struggling with this so we sang a little song to help and he is beginning to understand inside and outside in the context of CIRCLE.  And Gideon, well, Gideon LOVED the water, as per usual, yet he really did NOT like his hands dirty. So we spent some time with that and noticing what it is like at home and his other school where washing hands is easier  and how we do it at Tender Tracks. Which truly is a very different thing.

What we saw today was that this was the children’s first day of true discomforts. Discomfort with bulky clothes, water on the ground, wet and dirty hands, needing to be more mindful of eating since we were sitting on buckets and the food was low and more along those veins.

The blessings and wonders of the “Dark side of the year” are upon us and with them come great opportunities to build resilience, problem solving, postponement gratification and I CAN DO IT moments.

We had changing parties after the bucket brigade too which is part of our fall/winter time “curriculum.”  Some of the children thought they were wet because there was some wet on their rain suits but in truth, underneath they were not.

When we got in the bus it was clear that all this newness brought well earned tiredness.  Ruby drove and I played the Kalimba, sang some gentle quieting songs with that and then went into a sleepy and dreamy tale where one by one they closed their eyes, either because they actually fell asleep or because they were following the story and enjoying resting their eyes. Nathan saw the other children with their eyes closed and wanted to follow them so he tightened up his eyes, tilted his head like he saw his friends Beau and Ellery do and now and again he would open them up, adjust his body and close them shut to match his friends. Rohin just watched everyone like Nelly but Sienna rested her eyes shut. The ones that actually did fall asleep were Addie, Ellery and Beau.

Such a wonder filled first day back.

And oh yes, during lunch I shared a book with them about Mr. Krinkleroot.  He tracks all sorts of animals. There were pictures of lot’s of tracks.  I went in and out of personal stories as well as Mr. Krinkelroots tales. My focus: to show them pictures of tracks to lay the ground work for tracking animals and sign.


November 27, 2018
Waning Gibbous Moon
Lake Lagunitas

Luna, Uma and Eamon were absent today.

The day was forecast for Rain most of the day but alas, we only had beautiful drizzles at about 1 pm and full rain as we were driving home.

When we got to the Lakes we set up our area and the children scattered to favored spots. There were only four and Josies mother and brother came to be with us until about 11 or so. YEAH!! that was truly a gift!  As Ruby and I set up the fire circle and area Josie’s Mom stayed with the girls as they played in their favored tree houses and running all over and Theo and Holden had a GRAND time “cutting” down a tree( dead mind you.)

Once the fire was completely laid out and ready the children came to the fire pit. There they learned a new fire song and story and the test to see if the materials were truly dry enough to be a one-match fire commenced.  And, it worked!!!!! the fire began and as it did the children played a game from the story: Ruby was Coyote chasing the Rabbits(the children!) and off they all ran until they all were caught and back to the fire.  We worked to make the fire perfect for our needs of popping popcorn, Ruby put together the pot with the oil, salt, and popcorn, the pot went on over the fire and…we waited, and waited, and waited and…… POP! the first kernel popped and kept going until they POURED out of the pot and into a bigger pot. Then into our bowels and eat it up we did. It was the BEST popcorn in the history of Tender Tracks I do believe!

They all ate and enjoyed and then finally left to PLLLAAAYYYY until lunch time!
There were a great many fun adventures, over the water, crawling on logs, climbing up and down trees and hillsides and then, coming in to eat.

After eating and singing some songs onto a grand adventure we went. We found several Banana Slugs that we had fun being with, Baby Bay nuts to help be born, bridges to throw things off of and then back to the bus to draw our picture of the day.

I believe everyone was pretty tuckered as the ride home was QUIET and still for the most part.

A beautiful, and delightful first day back from Crisis of fires, Holiday and the glories of having fresh air again and waters to quench all’s thirst.