Woods and Wetlands 2017

Snow Day

Yesterday we had a snow day from school, but that is no reason to cancel Woods and Wetlands!  If anything, it made for an even more magical experience.  We were able to meet earlier and though it was a tiny group, only 3 explorers, we had a lovely time.

Breaking trail through new snow brings such a feeling of childhood to me and it seems completely normal to drop down and crawl through tiny openings between low branches, imagining we are little, furry animals in this wonderland.  I love and recognize the feel of being all insulated in snow pants, puffy coats, warm mittens and protective hats while the snow falls on our eyelashes and our cheeks get pink.

The kids notice all kinds of details and features of the woods and swamp that they haven’t seen before.  The girls haven’t been out there with me since last year and their voices continually brim with joy as they call out to each other and to me, “Remember when…!?”  And I am warmed by the memories they share.  I realize that some of those memories would have been lost to me if it weren’t for these verbalized recollections.  I also remember things that they do not, and between us, we rebuild some of those connections.

It is an effort to remember to pull out my phone to capture some of this beauty because I just want to soak it in and be fully present.  But I also love to share as much of it as possible with parents and others who enjoy these journeys.

We stayed toasty warm until the end when our toes began to get a bit cold and we found ourselves nicely tired out as we trudged back through the deepening snow to meet their parents.  I remembered dragging through snow behind my big sister as she broke trail for both of us throughout our childhood winters.  I glanced behind me to see O. and S. beaming at me, tired out but so happy, and B. found a burst of energy to run ahead, weaving his way through our half-filled tracks and creating new ones.

Tracks in the fresh snow, like memories made and as they fill again, half forgotten, always with the opportunity to get out there and make new ones all over again.

T.

This was a tree/bush the girls remembered from last year and were eager to find again.  S. remembered that when they first discovered it and brought me there I had told them that they took me on a wild goose chase!  I had forgotten that.  It made her laugh.
B. really put some hard work into getting up there!  He slipped and fell a few times before getting it.  What a great feeling of accomplishment when we learn to do something ourselves!  He said he was, “self-taught.”

Looking for a way to climb up.  Like anything else, it takes thought, effort, and practice.  She can do it!
She is a strong girl!  This time she got to enjoy the best places in the Secret Fort Tree since she didn’t have to share it with an entire class.
Dropping to make a snow angel anywhere, any time!

Oh, they sure know what to do when a camera is pointed their way!

 

“Snow angel high fives!” they said.
We wondered whether the magic tree would open with cattail fluff applied?

 

Oh, the joys of texture, discovery, and making a mess!

 

S. decided she would call these, “Nature’s corndogs.”
This was a new memory in the making.  When we did Firsts in the Forest together we hadn’t discovered how to make cattails puff out like… well… cat tails!
B. decides to make a new trail in the swamp.
We were perplexed about how and why the cattails had new, young plants still green coming up through the snow.  We remembered seeing them that way in the springtime.

B. enjoyed playing with his, “torch,” that he found and used it to lead the way as he discovered more bunny tracks!

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