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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Outside: 30 minutes: October 10

"The child builds his inmost self 
out of the deeply held impressions he receives."
Maria Montessori

I grabbed the camera as we went outside today.  Every day, every hour out there is different.  Some seem taken over by one upset after another; on other days almost all the kids play and run together in a group game. Today I found a kaleidoscope of different activities, little groups and kids playing solo, shifting and moving in the mellow light of an autumn day. Their unfolding friendships, actions, and discoveries revealed themselves up and down and all around,  as I walked from one area to another with camera in hand, all in about 30 minutes..... 

I found Eleanor and Joey happily and peacefully playing in the sand circle, while Brady and Cara were engaged in some industrious shovel work in the digging area behind them.

Just beyond those two, Charlotte, Isabel, and Seamus were "baking chocolate cake" in that special spot sheltered by a Western Red Cedar and a Douglas Fir.  The top photo belongs here, Seamus bringing back a heavy bucket of more "chocolate."

A little further down behind this group, Collin was running along a path on his own, and then he stopped at this stump to balance and do big jumps.  I needed a faster lens for this photo - can you see him jumping?

I circled over to the stick house.  The kids have been covering it with green fir branches all this week, making it feel more enclosed and almost cozy.  Logan was hanging out in there, having a quiet moment.  

Collin ran over to show me the magnificent mushrooms in that protected area, and then he crawled into the "secret room" they had made on one side of the stick house,  and poked his head out the back.
I left them and headed back up past the overhead bars, and found Cherry and Evangeline on the side road playing with two of our "outside animals," the donkey and the bear.  Such sweet play has been happening between these two this week.    "They are friends," Cherry said to me, quite clearly, referring to the animals; she could also have been speaking about the two of them. She spoke quite a few short sentences today.

I found Ethan up there too, walking proudly along the retaining wall.  "Look how high up I am!"  He had been jumping (not from that high edge, but down a little further),  jumping just as his brother had been doing down in the forest.

Meanwhile, the great bike adventure of fall 2013 continued.  Noah, Rex, and Julian ride two-wheeled bikes every single day, more than anyone else - first round and round up in the concrete area, and then they ask if they can ride down into the forest.  Helmets are the rule now, when they head down the side road. Imagine this slope from their perspective!  They ride down the side road and all the way to the back fence, and then they are supposed to bring the bikes all the way back up again; sooner or later they get it done, right away if a friend is waiting.  

While I was watching the bike riders, Noah got tired of waiting for Rex to come back up, so he headed over to what we call the "nature fort" -  the huge, inviting rhododendrons just below the chicken pen - to show me how high he could climb.

We came upon the three hens in there.   Now that it's fall and nothing in the garden is critical, I let them out in the middle of the day for some free scratching and roaming.  All three are starting to molt, an annual affair, their coop full of feathers, and no laying eggs until it's over.  They are leading their own precious lives, and they're part of the story too.   

And the chicks?  Well, as I came around the house at the end of this journey, I discovered that once the kids stopped visiting them, they had settled in to rest on their perch, behaving just like the hens they will become.

As I read back through this simple sharing of this morning's play with you, Kahlil Gibran's wonderful and wise words come to mind:
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself."