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Waning Half Moon
Foothills Park-The Island

Jasper was out with with family today and Aurora’s Mom and sister came with wonderful birthday treats to celebrate Aurora’s fourth birthday, which is actually tomorrow.
When we got to the park there were all sorts of painters all setting up their wonderful easels and paint and, right where I had planned to have circle too so, Bosch found another wonderful spot and there we went.   We sang our songs, got our wonderful snack from Aurora and then sang her her Tender Tracks Birthday song.   She and Emme passed out the snacks, and Dahlia and Eric passed out the drinks.  Then I retold the story from last week.  After that most of them immediately ran off in the direction that they were very familiar with only, that wasnt the direction we were actually going on this day.  Bosch, after awhile, was able to round them up but, something happened?  Natalie found a plastic suction cup type of ball.  Eric REALLY wanted it as well as Emme.  Eric had tears and then I brought him into some awareness that there would be a special gift for him today too.  It might be a feather, a stick, a butterfly landing on his cheek….and sure enough, later in the day he found a stick and a wonderful bird feeder underneath some trees. Those seemed like his gifts to him and he smiled with joy over finding them.
When we got to the Island we got fishing poles from the wonderful Cattail folks, we found ducks, slipped, a fair amount, upon the little hills, sat upon the rock near the pond with Bosch and watched the wonders go by, ate, and then played Hide and Go Seek.
Bosch, towards the end of the day,  became an Orange Monster and Aurora’s little sister was having a grand time with them all.  Aurora though slipped in the water and did not like that. We remembered that that happened last time too. Mom was there to take off all of her wet things and put on new ones and then off she went.
Eric, Nareya and Dahlia kept slipping and it seems it will take them a bit to figure out how to slow down when they are on slippy ground.  Hide and Go Seek was wonderful fun as well as looking at all the plants that were Poison Oak and how NOT to hide in them.
Emme wanted a treasure that Nareya found and it seemed that, after awhile, Nareya was willing to share it a bit because I saw Emme with it for awhile.
I noticed that there was a lot of getting the Cattails and then immediately crunching them up, throwing them away, disliking what they had and then asking for another one. Today it felt right to me to bring the point of view of the gift that the Cattail people  bring and how to really use what we have instead of cutting them down, throwing them away and then asking for another one.  I had them take their time and really notice what exactly they wanted before I cut one down. We gave thanks as we cut them down and then we took very good care with the one’s we had as there were no more to be  cut for the rest of the day.  I did  not get any more requests.
Anissa was delighted with her lunch and play. Aurora with water and play. Nareya and Dahlia had their usual squabbles as well as love for one another and were the one’s who said “IT’s time to play Hide and Go Seek!”
Eric, as I said, was very sad with not having found the wonderful toy that Natalie did but delighted when he found his own treasure and he got better with his falls.  Natalie did not like the other children wanting the toy she found yet happy when I suggested that she put it in her backpack and leave it there until she got home. After that she was running all around the Island.   Emme too was falling yet got up like a trooper and had fun. Most, if not all noticed the most wonderful red, and blue dragonflies that were all around.  Bosch spotted a Great Blue Heron up in the tree and we sat there watching it. The children came by to try and see if they could see it. Emme and Dahlia had to go pee so I had to leave and we did not see it take flight from the tree.
Eric earlier helped me gather fire tinder of dried Mugwort and Old Man’s Beard from the ground and trees.
Aurora went home with her Mommy and the rest of us took our usual path back to family and home.

Full Moon
Dennis Martins Creek

We had two extra people today, Nareya’s Mom and a Mills College Graduate Student.
The day was absolutely fun and alive as we explored this cool place.  It was to be very, very hot today so this is always one of the best choices to make.  And, it turned out to be absolutely true.  There was some water to play with and we were very sweetly protected from the great heat of the Sun under the steady shelter of the trees.
Since somehow I missed writing this up last week, this will be a short journal with some main highlights.
Fun and triumph I think were the operative words here. Then, exploring, adventuring, trying out skills at climbing hard spots, laughing, discovering creatures and plants, bringing in a new person with ease and peacefulness.
My highlight of the day:  The children were opening themselves up and have been, to climbing more and more challenging climbs.  I decided to role model a more difficult climb to see what they would do.
I scampered up some thick roots on the side of a hill to the top of the water fall type place where the climb was.   Bosch, who is always right in tune with me, came at just the right time as each one made their attempts at getting up.  I coaxed them along on up and at the very top he reached out and aided them on the very last spot. Accept Emme who said “I did it all by myself!!”  And she did. Dahlia, as often is the case, thought for sure she could not do it but, her desire to Do It, won out and then, she did it!!!!!!  And she was so very pleased with her accomplishment.
Natalie  gains such joy and strength with helping others and so she aided many in finding ways to succeed in the areas that were hard for them.  Eric makes sure things are safe and then goes for it with just the right amount of support. Jasper has sprouted up so much with his desire to conquer the world, so to speak.  Anissa has grown  not only physically but emotionally as well  and is having a blast with her expanded and joyful self.
Aurora was NOT afraid of Mt. Lions today and was delighted with water, stones and climbing and Nareya was not only happy with her Mother being there but also able to expand out more even with Mom there!!!
Thank you Nareya’s Mommy for making GREAT smooth and creamy mud paint for us all.  I was beautifully painted up by many of the girls and then I showed them how to wash it off in the water.
It was fun to continue to play on the incredible Natures Swings that are there and to show our Graduate student friend how fun they are to swing on.  There were great times of figuring out how to share the things that we really like and to come out where everyone got to have what they wanted and, they had a great deal of fun running up and down the trails to different destinations in order to make our way back to the bus.

Waxing Half Moon
Thornwood Open Space Preserve

What a beautiful not too hot, not too cold day.  It was grand to be back and ready to go on a brand new adventure.  I only take children here when I think they are ready to really walk a bit of a ways.  Some were a bit pushed today yet they made it with flying colors and seemed happy for it.
It is  7 tenths of a mile down to the pond.  I have created something called a “song line” all a long the path to get them there and back.  A song line is stories connected with landmarks.  I have been told that in some places children are told, their entire youth, a story with song lines/land marks embeded in the tale.  When they are ready as a teenager to go on their Rights of Passage walk they are simply told to follow the story.  This of course was not like that, and, they found all the land marks with great exuberance and joy.  Particularly Natalie who really heard the song line and dashed to find it and always did!!!  The rest did too it’s just that she was  right up front and center  with it all.
When we went down “Rabbit Run”, a place where, if you are very quiet you sometimes can see little cotton tails, they were all SOOO quiet and took it quite seriously in hopes of finding a rabbit.  Well, we didn’t but along the path we found lot’s of Poison Oak and so many wonderful plants.  When they got to the Bridge, they found a beautiful full and fat brilliantly green caterpillar!  Jasper, on our way back really wanted to see if it was still in the same spot but, it was not and we could not find it.  They got to eat Douglas Fir spring green tips. They are like vitamin C and make a very nutritious tea too!
When we got to where we were to be, I told them about going very quietly as they walked down to our spot because when I first came here, I felt the Fairies and the Knomes and promised them that when I brought children here I would ask them to walk quietly as they entered.  From there on Aurora wanted LOT’S of Fairy stories and to learn more about the Fairies.  I told them all one sweet one in particular.  I started to tell Aurora and then the entire group got hushed and listened with great focus.
We played some fun games like rolling our water bottles down the hill to see which one would go down the fastest or go the farthest.  We played on the logs near by, ate together and then, I scurried up the Redwood Tree in front of us that had lot’s of limbs and nobs to easily use for climbing up on.   That, as I intended, spurred them on to try.  Jasper scampered straight up and was in total delight over this.  Emme really wanted to do it but couldn’t quite figure it out.  Natalie found another easier way and Anissa, Emme, Erik and Dahlia followed her in that way.  Nareya had a lot of fun with Bosch today in the bus and along the walk.  Aurora was snuggly most of the day and spoke of being scared of Mt. Lions.  Nareya as well.  Often times at four children have temporary fears of the natural world.  We shared with the children a lot about Mt. Lions with the hopes of alleviating, with truth,  their fears of big animals such as the Mt. Lion.
It was a wonderful day of exploring where we were going and how to get back, also known as navigation.
And all in all it was just wild, wonderful, sometimes very quiet and sometimes filled with grand exuberance.  A very fun day back from a week off.