Palo Alto Tender Tracks Day 20, Nov. 22, 2011

Waning Crescent Moon: Full Moon on Friday
Foothills Park: The Island

Today was a beautiful day.  There were only two children by 9:10 and I thought maybe all were on Holiday but sure enough, all but Aleki  trickled in. He already began his thanksgiving holida.  We were blessed however with our new friend Paul who came to check out Tender Tracks for the day.  Jasper greeted him so kindly. He kept asking Paul to watch him do this or come with him and do that.  Paul received him quite well.  He was remarkably easeful the entire day and took in the whirls and swirls, sometimes chaotic moments, with great presence and added his own movement and grace to the day.

At circle time the children shared all our songs with him and did it in a gentle and cohesive manner.  Our snack was apples and walnuts. The apples we carefully cut open to take out the lovely little “pips”/seeds that were resting inside.  The children were given containers to put their seeds in and then a story to help them discover why they were gathering these quiet little treasures.

The story was about three children that one by one discover a beautiful tree with apples hanging above.  Each chose to do something different with the apple that fell to them yet the first two missed the treasure that was hidden inside that the wind kept whispering to them about.  The last child wound up planting the seeds and finding the “treasure won.” After story they all had great fun taking the nutcracker that I was there and working at cracking open the walnuts that were in a basket for them.  Audrey showed them another way to crack open the walnuts without the cracker and many went for trying that. They became like one of our songs about Squirrel whose last line is:” what’s for supper in the shell, snappity, crackity , out it fell.”

After all of that Anjalie and Jasper found these very large Palm branches which they were dragging all around.  As I went to the bus I saw the tail end of this Palm branch being dragged into the bus. It looked like a Dragon tail swishing and swashing inside. Unfortunately we had to take it out and leave it at the park.  Jasper, in response to that, put it on the front of the bus. After everyone was buckled in there I saw this big Palm Frond on the bus.  We had quite a laugh about that because I did not know how it got there at first.  A little grin of delight came over Jaspers face when he was discovered as the funny Trickster culprit!

The bus ride to the park got a little loud a couple of times so I brought them into a game that Audrey then continued aiding them in: Guess who I am or, more familiarly known as 20 questions.  This worked quite well for the rest of the journey as they were engaged in each asking one question at a time to the person who had an animal in their minds eye for us to figure out. When we got there they piled out and then loudness came again.  One of them stated that outside is where they can make loud sounds. Ah, all was made more clear to me.  A familiar parental statement, ‘go outside for outside voices.’ But, oh dear, at Tender Tracks it is a lot about having those quiet sounds outside too. Not always mind you!  But in this program it is more about finding ways to enter the silence and connection to all the beings who are living their lives in their homes, Nature.  There was an invitation to remember all the creatures and nature friends that we have found when are voices are more still and our ears more open to discovering who is near us.  So, the volume decreased greatly and eyes and ears opened more widely and off we went.  But not without stopping at the “Magic House” the bathroom, where they love to climb up behind it and play hide and seek type of games to those who are inside and coming out. Namely , ME! as they like to go “BOO” or laugh and giggle with animal prey delight.

I was happy to see that Giulio was back to his engaged and active self and Gracey contining to be fully participating with all the children.  She was trying out new behaviors today such as, what is it like to make loud sounds like the other children or giggle when the others are laughing at something in the past that she really was not sure about. However, she has not left her devotion to playing in a peaceful and friendly manner.  Audrey shared with me that when she and Paul were by the rock near the lake Paul was very engaged with being a beautiful Tiger and wanted to play this game with her.  She said that she did not want to play in this way and wanted a more peaceful playing. Oh dear, peaceful was not her word. How I need a younger brain or maybe just rather a different one to get the exact wording. Yet the gist is correct in this telling.  At any rate, Audrey came in and provided an opportunity to see what games they would mutually like to play and therein they both found that making birds nest was a wonderful choice so, off they went and were seen gathering and finding many things to make these birds nests with.

Kashi was very involved in his Train tracks and Guard crossing. He stationed himself in one place and stayed there for quite sometime as the children would ran back and forth around and near him.  There was a time where several of us were laying down on the ground looking up at the sky and Kashi became very excited that “The Train was coming, the train was coming!” and we had to get off the tracks.  I brought him into the thought that the children were in other worlds where there WERE no trains and that is why they could not see his train fast approaching.  He seemed to settle a little with this.  I kept trying to keep watch of Paul to make sure he was fine but I don’t think I needed such efforts as not only were the children aware of where he always was but he was usually playing with either Jasper, Grace or the entire group that was continually running about, hiding, seeking, exploring, laughing, discovering and the like and completely fine.  Many times I found quiet places to sit unseen,  in order to listen to the different groups playing.  All so engaged.

And then,  half the time I sat and each child  came to me  to join in  making their gifts to the birds for Thanksgiving: an apple cut in half, scooped out, twine put on it for hanging and the children putting bird seed in it.  They then found branches and hung their gifts.  Each one was very delighted to make these gifts and they all found their own wonderful place to hang them.  We looked at each others nests before we left and we will come back next week to see if they are still there and if not, if there are any clues to who might have taken them or if the birds actually ate the nests.

Jasper had to go poop and Bodi really wanted to watch. He asked very politely and was just fine when at first Jasper said no.  At first Jasper couldnt’ go but later he had to go again. This time Bodi still wanted to see and Jasper said yes. Giulio came along and at first Jasper wasn’t ok with him being there but then that changed and all was fine.  The three of them ran back to the Island off to play.   Lucy found some old beer bottles and really liked having this. She wanted to fill it up and water the mushrooms.  There was talk about what it was made of, glass, how it could become not safe, about not putting your mouth to it and the like.  She was right there with it all and still really liked having this bottle.  Anjalie was wanton of this too. I took the rest that was found and gave it to the garbage and recycling cans and by that time it was time to go.

Another beautiful day and so happy for Paul’s presence.  He was truly well received.

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