Waxing Gibbeous Moon
John and Peggy’s Land in Nicassio

What a beautiful January day in Marin.  It was so warm one would have thought spring was just around the corner. However, my experience is that every January it feels like this and then finally the rains come, with a grand welcome.  Bodhi and Lenny came with openess to the day and then we went to pick up our other friends.   Benny ran to the bus with great exuberance, Simone was quite quiet along with Leo and Sidona arrived a little later.  She was not happy at all about going yet Mom needed her to stay so, with a great deal of unhappy tears she was on the bus, door closed and Mom heading off.  The children were very calm and present and had some loving suggestions for her but she was not interested.  I offered a nice soft rabbit skin that is offered to all children when their hearts are sad but she didn’t want it.  The other children though really did as well as the books that I offered. So, they were all content and then I joyfully let them know that I was taking them to a new and wonder filled place that has been offered to us to play at whenever we wish.  I let them know that we were going to gather Cat Tail down to make pillows. The making of the pillows would be on another day. They seemed excited and interested in this.

Off we went and Sidona was filled with whimpers for at least half of the ride.  Simone’s tender heart was really wondering how long Sidona would cry and if it would be all day. Great conversation came from this and then somehow I wound up saying how much I love sparkley things. Well, that was the key.  She began to talk about how much she liked sparkley things too and then everything was up hill from there.  Benny had some challenging moments today as well but nothing on the grand scale and he made it through without much of a hitch.  The end of the day at drop off Bodhi was very sad because somehow his cattail did not make it to him and went to someone else, so, either someone got one who didn’t want one or I lost one! And that is about it for the major discomforts. Now for the easier parts and more readily enjoyable parts of the day.

When we got to this new place they went right to the lawn because Benny said he was really hungry and there they ate and I told them a story about Snowflake and the Dragon. A tale about chivalry, finding friends in unexpected places, choices,  Fairy Mothers and Queen Mother Moon making snow,how to use a sword for good and not to harm, and the Months of the year.  I gave them a couple new songs, one of which is a song that sings the names of the months, seasons and days of the week.   It was finally time to pack up lunch and find our way to the Cat tails.  They were so very, very present and up for the adventure.  They had to climb over two gates and figure out how to do that with their backpacks on. Some took theirs off and slipped thru the fence, some climbed over, and some slipped thru with their packs on.  We went up hills and then down thru the grasslands to another fence and the same problem solving took place.  Leo led the way and found the huge lake to play at.  Instantly they began to find stones to throw in it and I found the cattails.  We went over there and at first only Sidona, Simone and Leo were gathering and cleaning the Cattail down into the bag.  One by one the others came by and added to the bag. It got fuller and fuller. Sidona was quite pleased withherself that she could get the Cat tails by herself. Bodhi discovered that he could too and was very happy about this as well.

Over by the lake Lenny, Benny and Bodhi were having fun throwing rocks and then looking under the rocks where they found rolly pollys.  What fun was that?!  They were mesmerized by these beings and had such fun with them.  I aided them with knowing all about lifting the beings roof up and then putting it back down again.  They found wonderful little shells there and later, on our way back,we found great tracks: deer, coyote? and other questionable markings.

When it was time to go all but Simone and Sidona ran off so there is still some learning about how to make sure the whole group is together.  I needed them to come back because I took them back a different way.  It is a way with much mud  and climbing up and down.   They had to really figure out how to navigate thru different terrain, through mud and through very tall grasses.  They rose to the occasion.  Benny did lose his shoe at one point to the mud so I came back, got the shoe, put it back on and off we went.  Then, I think my favorite part, was seeing how each one of them navigated over the cow guard, metal bars on the road to keep cows from crossing.  They have very wide spaces between them.  Lenny and Simone were most challenged by it.  Simone just figured out how to hold on to the rail on the other side to cross but Lenny was baffled by it all and gave up until I suggested that he watch how Simone was getting across. He went straight to doing what she did and was delighted.

The ride back they were happy with their rabbit furs and books and then a story that I told from a request, a typical request as we drive back.

A very lovely day and my heart is beaming with joy to be on this land.  We can come here anytime and we are very WELCOME!! Welcome to build fires, harvest plants and add to the land.  What a joy I can’t even begin to describe!

Waxing Gibbeous Moon
The Bay Lands Duck Pond

Anjalie came but was so jet lagged it seemed best that she go home and rest, Kashi came in very late from vacation adventures  last night and needed to stay home and rest and, if I recall, Grace was still on holiday.  That left 6 wonderful and very happy children with Audrey and I.  Truly, all the children were very happy, present and delightful.  Lucy really wanted her brother to come to Tender Tracks today since he still was not back to school.  There were attempts for him to come, he showed up yet had a change of heart, all the children went to support his participation but alas, it was more then he bargained for and he and Amanda went off.  Lucy was fine or at least seemed to jump right back into the day even though I heard that she really wanted her brother to come.

Bodie greeted Audrey and I with these wonderful “rescued sweaters” owl hats.  WHAT FUN WERE AND ARE THEY!!!!!  I didn’t want to take mine off all day until I just got too hot and had to!   And then, who showed up with his own owl hat?  GIULIO!!   He always wears his favorite pumpkin hat but what was here?  an Owl hat too!  That was so much fun.

The day, though filled with high energy joy presented itself in on going ease and flow with each moment, each experience. It was a day that was relaxed and  filled with  an unpressured pacing.  That is how the whole day went and how fun it was!

At circle time there were new and special little colored pouches for each direction for our direction song.  Each child chose a direction and when we came to their direction  part of the song they would throw out the “magick” from their bag.  Then after this song there was another new bag with rocks in it. Each rock represented a job.  They put their hands in the bag, picked out a rock and then got their job.  This was just wonderful, each child really enjoyed and took on their job with seeming pride.  In the snack was a wonderful little rock with a heart drawn on it. This was presented as a gift from the story and then the story came, Snowflake and the Dragon.  This story is a story almost always the first week back from winter holiday.  It begins on New Years Eve and it counts 9 months out of the year.  Therefore, I introduce the song that counts the months, seasons and days of the week.  It is about a Dragon, a princess, a great and Nobel Knight and the choice to kill a dragon or allow him to live and fulfill his task, to serve Snowflake all the days of her life. There are many themes in this story: choice, conduct, there is always help from all of life there for us and much, much more.   I bring stories in knowing that they will touch the soul in each child right where it is needed and that may be clear to me where that is or not. This story also brought in the usage of swords. Two wooden swords have been in the back of the bus and, Jasper in particular, has really wanted me to bring them out often.   I have told them all year the swords will only come out once a certain story is told.  And, the story was told and the swords came out bringing thought forms of , chivalry, respect for self and others and “codes of conduct” .  After the story the swords, in a very playful way, including what I just wrote came to play.  Jasper was DELIGHTED to be using these swords .  Bodie, Giulio, Paul and Lucy had a fine time with them as well as they all had matches with either Jasper or others.  Actually, it took a bit of gentle suggestion to get Jasper to relinquish one of the swords so others could have matches with  each other.  He some how kept winning the matches though.    They actually  got very creative with these swords yet I finally needed to share with them that they were not axes that cut down trees but truly just swords.  We would have to find other tools for the more strenuous tasks.

When we got to the duck pond more joy and delight was had for the rest of the day.  Observing diversity of ducks was the first fun to had and then  the day moved on. We were in great giggling delight, over the pigeons that would do an aerial show for us and music to our ears as they flew in graceful and harmonious form.   I said that they were doing a dance and when they came down they were resting. Paul thought that was SOOOOOOOOOO funny!!!!!!  We played and ate at our usual spot noticing the birds and Lucy showing Paul how to “share not scare.” This means she was showing him how to walk softly up to the birds to try to touch them instead of chasing and scaring them.  He stepped right in to that.  There were games of sneaking up, and finding lot’s of wonderful feathers.  Jasper and Giulio had quite the tussel over a stick.  A little further away from all of us we saw them both tugging and tugging at a stick.  I asked Bodie if he thought they needed help or if they might be able to figure it out on their own.  He thought they needed help.   I slowly went over there, with a non interference walk. As I almost got to them I heard Jasper, with a tugging breath type voice say, ” We could break it in two and then we would both have some.”  Giulio instantly and with a smile said “YES!”.  Jasper broke the stick in two and off they went.  Giulio actually dropped the stick shortly after and went happily onto another game with great ease.  Wow,that was the most beautiful moment of the day I think!  Brovo to the families of Giulio and Jasper for such skill that you have given your children.   Then, I really wanted to take them on an adventure at the duck pond that none of them had ever gone on so, off we went.   Everyone jumped right into to the adventure.

I took them through some trees on the back side that brought about some navigating in debri. There we found bird eggs, bones and poop to decifer.  Then we went through more ‘rugged’ terrain only to find ourselves out again in the sunlight under the blue sky and on another trail!

Where should we go?  well, the great wild Fennel forest was calling us I truly felt so in we went………. The ground was crunchy as we walked upon the fallen and lifeless last years Fennel crop.  The Coyote bushes would barr our path at times only to open up again and then there was the great and aging Mugwort grove where gathering old Mugwort was a wonderful thing to do for future fire starting material.  Bodie was not too keen on this adventure as he didn’t like the struggle with all this plant life in his face!  However, Alexi, Lucy , who were right behind me were having quite the fun time of it .  Giulio and Audrey brought up the rear and found more egg and nest treasures that most of us missed.  And then, we did it again, we found our selves out into the wide open spaces.  There were great questions during this adventure of “Where are we? Where are we going?”  So, we reoriented and carried on ahead to a great bridge where underneath water flowed and two odd downward spiraling circles of water presented themselves.  What could it be?  We starred at the water, the birds, this spiraling wonder for quite a time and then moved on.

When we got to the ranger station, where the great and mighty stick walk that ended in the place where Brother Sister Wind sometimes come and make mischief, we discovered that Jasper did not have his backpack on.  Well, we figured we knew where it probably was so we decided to go get it on our way back.  Then off we went.  At the end of this long walk way, out on the baylands is a place where you can look out onto the bay and see the tides work, sometimes in sometimes not.  It was very much out today and there was lot’s of mud and tracks and garbage! to be seen.  The Wind children were very quiet too so we couldn’t play with them.    What I am always amazed about this place is that in the middle are some bench type seating.  No matter what, everytime I bring children here they like to lay down and just be here.  They wind up playing hide and go seek or animals in their houses here by lying down on the wooden boards or underneath the special benches. It is very fascinating to me.  The children today, layed on the benches or layed on the ground and just laid there as if they were just allowing themselves to rest.  A very organic looking moment of bodily intelligence.    Now when I laid down it appeared, unbeknownst to me, that that meant POUNCE on Wendolyn, and so a rousing game of pouncing commenced.   Finally the joy of this place passed and on to new adventures came about.

I am looking at how many words have been written and it is much more then usual so, I will cut the rest of the description of the day to a minimum and   say, there was finding Jaspers backpack, backtracking through the Fennel forest to see what Audrey found, discovering pickleweed plant and trying it, finding rabbit tracks and the difference between geese and swans.

Giulio came with much joyful and happy energy, Bodie was just alive and smiling all day, Paul has one of the best sense of humors and it was very much alive, Jasper was happy, playful and full of interest, Lucy was smiling, and filled with wrestling energy, and Alexi loved looking at the Sandpipers and enjoying the adventures of the day.

Waxing Gibbeous Moon
Lake Lagunitas

Well, I will never say what kind of a day the children have because, I can not speak for them, however, in my observation and personal experience, this was a wonder filled first day. The children were very open hearted  one to the other,as I suspected  would be the case. They are easy, kind, and playful.    Every moment was finding the adventure, awe, wonder and each others curiosity.  Not that each person’s curiosity could be completely followed, as, when with a group, there is this thing called, working together.  That’s where my job comes in, putting the pieces together to have some appearance of being a cohesive group traveling about the Earth taking in all the gifts as well as giving back.

As soon as we got there the adventure began with hearing the water, seeing some birds (Aero’s immediate observation) and checking these things out.   Purnat wanted to go and check out “the village.”  This is the wooden shelter that is right past the parking lot.  But, Bodhi was drawn to the water.  We went over there but Purnat still wanted to check out the village so he took his new friend Aero and they went over there with the invitation to bring back tales of what they discovered.  Bodhi had the same invitation.   He quite soon found ” something tied onto a root!” and Purnat and Aero found a very special leaf.   I asked Bodhi what he thought it was on the root, what it felt like, what color it was and he dove deeper into the exploration of what this thing was.  Purnat shared the journey he and Aero had, ” we kept saying, no this is my house, no my house, no my house” with a lot of easeful smiling with the telling.   He really wanted to take the leaf home to his Mom yet Aero found it and wanted it so, we went to go see where this leaf actually came from and then Purnat COULD take one home.  We looked at all the trees much more closely all around us until we found a tree with leaves that looked very similar and were all on the ground below it.   But then, where was Aero?  Purnat spied him and then off the rest of us went to find the wonderful place he found:  A Big Redwood Tree that could be climbed.

Somewhere around here it became time to eat.  They went to the benches in the “village” and there they ate and I told them a story of why certain trees are Ever Green and why some animals stay awake all night.   We found a long straight stick after this and earlier found part of a bird carcass with feathers on it.  On the stick I tied some of the feathers and this will be our counting stick, weather/wind determiner and Moon marking stick each day that we get together.

We climbed daringly on the wood bridge up the stairs, discovered mint plants and chickweed plants to eat.  The Bullfrogs really did appear to be sleeping  in their mud beds for the winter and the Cattails were hard to dig up and eat.   Aero became an Owl hooting a good portion of the day, Bodhi was his forever lovely Tiger and Purnat was a wonderful Lion.  Of course, sometimes we all were birds flying or running or morphing into one animal or another but these, were the main characters of the day.

Bodhi likes and wanted to go on more traveling adventures, Aero liked, mainly but not always, to explore in one place and Purnate liked to explore close to me.   There was all of these adventures happening and sharing of spaces and places.    We found a very inviting spot underneath some Doug Fir trees and there we found some wonders, MUSHROOMS!  Bodhi said he was scared of them so we spent a lot of time checking them out.  We then tried to be really quiet so when people came by we could see them and they couldn’t see us but Aero was much too involved with being a hooting Owl and, due to the wonderfully developed ears of all the passers by, they figured out where we were!!!

At the end of the day we played a very fun game of: Coyote and Rabbit.  I was the rabbit that they were chasing to bec0me Coyotes dinner. Oh dear, I, the great rabbit that I was, ran and ran and ran and darted but finally, they caught me and I was eaten up with wonderful joy!!! How interesting it was to be in the belly of such wonderful Coyotes!!!!!   They then chased me all the way back to the bus where we sang our good-byes, shared stories of the day and gave our thank you’s of the day.

What a joyful first day. I thank you very much.