June 7, 2019
Waxing Crescent Moon
A beautiful sunshiny day greeted us at Lake Lagunitas as we gathered for a celebration of our magical year together. Our final day at Tender Tracks, and we were blessed by many Parents attending. I know that Ruby and I were feeling the playful reverence of the day and so much gratitude for the gift of these sweet Fridays with the Raccoon Children.
While Ruby set the snack circle, I began churning the whipped cream. Soon, the children began to arrive and show the Parents all their favorite places. Many children came to help at the churn, excited for a whipped cream topping at snack! It was so lovely to see all the Parents connecting and chatting and playing together. Many got to bask in the Sunny Meadow, assess if the Climbing Tree would allow them to ascend, and feel the coziness of the Redwood Raccoon Home, and perhaps explore where the Mud Monster plays. I know that everyone could see how the children truly thrive on the land.
Ruby played the song to call everyone for snack and I had a moment of realization that this would be our last call to snack and story circle. I savored the moment of watching the children run from wherever they were exploring to come together with all of us, leading the Parents, as well. A large and loving circle opened with our favorite songs and rhymes of sunshine, rabbits, robins, and little ones beneath the ground. I was happy to reprise my role as the Rabbit Hole and get some hugs from the wee Rabbits!
We feasted on a delicious cake that Wendolyn made for us, with fresh whipped cream and sweet raspberries. We told the story of the Raccoon Children through the seasons and many Tender Trackers recognized their own adventures and favorite places, meeting the Yellow Jacket Sisters, cooking in the forest, the Pirate Ship, creek play, and finding signs of spring with their friends.
Later, we all joined in a game of Fire in the Forest, and the Parents caught on quickly, though not all could outrun Ruby! It was so fun to share a favorite game with everyone and hopefully it will be played at home or on other adventures. Thank you Parents, for fully committing to whatever your animal character was, I appreciate all of your willingness to be silly and to fully embrace the experience with the children.
Soon it was time for our special celebration ceremony. The children were with Ruby and she shared a sweet song to lead them to their special blanket by the creek:
Sun and Rain unite, give birth
A Rainbow circling the Earth
The new dream we shall all take part
The Rainbow lives within our heart
Meanwhile, the Parents and I shared gratitude for Tender Tracks and the Parents prepared to receive the children from across the bridge. Another moment of deep gratitude and emotion for me, as I saw in each Parent’s face, both the childlike quality of openness to the moment, as well as their own children’s faces in their features. It was incredible to look out and see your children’s eyes and smiles mirrored in your own and to know that the love for the land will continue to be fostered and shared in your families.
I joined Ruby and the children on the other side of the creek and before we sent them each with their special bag, Ruby shared:
Over the Rainbow bridge I go
Into a land I soon will know
Where trust will show me many new ways
To laugh and learn and simply play
I will lift my voice in song
And dance and dance and dance along
Each child crossed the bridge to be gathered into the arms of loving Parents, then Ruby and I crossed together into the big hugs of Raccoon Children!! The children each received a Guardian of Safety kit with items to care for injured friends, their own Weather Watcher stick that they took time to choose and whittle, and a bandana to receive handprints of friends to always remember, the bag itself is a Guardian of the Earth bag for collecting trash and caring for the land, with their special Nature symbol from Tender Tracks. We hope that these tools, and the others they have learned and cultivated at Tender Tracks continue to serve them, their communities, and the Land.
As a group, we all pressed our hands into vibrant rock paint to place friendly pawprints on each other’s bandanas (hand-anas!) Then, children’s own ‘tender tracks’ were traced on their Guardians of Earth bags by Parents, and I thought that soon their footprints won’t fit on those bags as their feet grow and take them on new adventures! Feet were soon wet and muddy as children explored the creek and became Muddy Buddies.
We gathered again for lunch and shared two lunch songs and many gratitudes for this magical program. Thank you Wendolyn for making Tender Tracks a reality (and being the Parent of Tender Tracks.) Thank you Parents for sharing your wonderful children with us. Thank you Ruby for being a true partner in learning and leading. Thank you ALL for your support and dedication to connecting children with the natural world.
There was plenty more creek play and connection time and many more muddy feet. Favorite sticks were found and bark was poked and harvested, we played some sneak and hide among the trees. Ruby and I gave Blake a secret Birthday Story scroll, as he has a summer birthday. He chose his special Birthday stone and his parents will share his story with him in August. (The countdown is on!)
It was time for farewells and we smiled for pictures at Juniper Rose, hugged and wished everyone well. Wendolyn, Ruby, and I rode down the hill and reflected on the day. Wendolyn departed and we thanked her again for all she has created.
At the end of the day, it was just Ruby and me on Juniper Rose. We sat and looked around quietly, taking in the last moments. And then we shared our gratitudes for the day: blue Sky, warm Sun, each other as Teachers and Friends, all the Parents and Grandparents and Raccoon Children for making the program possible, and the community we’ve built together. Thank you Lake Lagunitas for holding us all year with Wind, Water, Soil and Trees. All the Love.