In a local wildspace, somewhere…..
We sit quietly, awaiting the arrival of children. We have found this space, walked this track, explored this forest and we know where the treasures are. We wonder, will they find the same treasures? As the sun moves across the morning sky, the children arrive like leaves being carried to the forest by the gentle wind.
Pencils poised, we draw life – in, on and around a fallen log. We sharpen our senses and grow our awareness. What is here? What is above, below, beside, underneath, behind? One child draws a tiny critter from beneath the log. Another draws an owl flying above. As guides for these children on this day, these drawings share insight into each child’s awareness, readiness and ability, and how they have come to us on this sunny morn.
The forest beckons. There is sunshine dancing along the track, peeking through the trees. We set off into the green room, backpacks and sturdy shoes on, along the track. The untouched wildness is beside us, our constant companion as we step, step, step along the track. Soon, so soon, one of the children answers the invitation and steps off the track. The beckoning of the wild space is strong for these children. A child sets the pace and the path as we leave the track and go in. Crunch, crunch, crunch underfoot of the dry acacia needles. It’s darker in here. It’s quieter. It’s a deeper space and the children reflect this.
We traverse the wild space, crossing over the track once, twice, three times and settle on a space to make a creature from fern and bough, seeds and sand. This is a beautiful group process – all children find their role in this creation. It’s so scary looking – a big old craggy forest creature sitting beside the track. Someone is coming! Let’s hide and see if they notice our creature! These walkers – will they see what we see? Are they looking only forward, focused on their destination? Or are they noticing what’s around them as they walk their path? Some look and smile. They see it. Some don’t see. The children wonder why not?
We move on. Stepping from the green room and into the blue room. The sky is wide and open here. The sand is soft and white. The banksias await us. We sit in the shade of one. We share food and drink. Cool and nourishing to fuel our bodies. Have you noticed the banksia families all around us? Some are singing. Some are smiling. Some are shy. Some are grumpy. We construct them a house that evolves into a city. We find treasures deep inside the city (dragons tears and crystals) and each child is gifted one treasure to take with them. Such delight.
We play music on the grass trees. Shhhhhh Shhhhhh ShhhShhhh Shhhhh. The sounds of the leaves and the sea blend to make music of the forest. The children sing their heart songs, accompanied by the music of this blue room.
Some fun to be had now. We hide and seek amongst this green, camouflaged in a grass tree world. Some of us come out bitten and scratched, itching our legs. This wildspace is leaving its imprint upon us. Our clothing is important in this space. Long pants protect us. Shorts do not. This is truly wild space – no one has cleared this path for you. We seek our own path on this day.
Our journey back is punctuated by tree climbs, treasure finds and “I can’t carry my backpack anymore, Fiona”. A true treasure — a nest of native bees in a fallen log – inspires us to keep buzzing along the track. Photographs of local native plants are handed out and hang around our necks – can you find ‘your’ tree in this forest? You can! Now swap with someone and find another. And another. Identify these trees. Become their shape. Smell their flowers and leaves. Touch their bark.
We return to the place we began. We are ‘out’ of this wildspace now. We feel into something we saw on our journey that no one else saw and draw it into our own Book of Secrets – to be shared…..or not?
Farewells and we jump in the truck to return home. Together as guides, we share the moments of smile, of learning, of intrigue, of fear, of connection, of breakthrough, in this experience on this day in this space with these children. We work with, and for, earth and children – together they are a potent and wondrous force. When they share space, real connection and true understanding manifests. This is natureweaving.
Natureweavers is a place where children gather to experience their local wild space. Alongside their guides, Fiona Ball and Carly Garner, we work and play interpretively to discover the wonder of nature through head, heart and hands.