It's Friday morning just before we break for Holidays. The day is amazingly mild for late December. The children work at a small patch of ice in the play yard. I take my typical approach to free play and try and busy myself with adult work, putting toys back in their place, checking on the garden, the compost, and really anything that will keep me from disrupting their play. I'm not ignoring the children, but rather giving them space to be their authentic selves. I am listening all the while, but making sure not to interrupt their play. This is truly my most favorite time with children, when they are just exploring the freedoms of life.
There is a large stump that's being used as a stovetop. With a metal pot filled with melting ice and mud. The cook is calling out. "I'm poor, can you give me anything?"
Two other children are sliding on the ice patch close by when they call out to me, "Cammy, come quick, we found a track, we found a track on the ice." I come over and they show me a shape melted out in the ice. "It's a rabbit foot print, no, it's a squash! We can put it in the soup!" They fall over laughing at the thought and then get to work trying to chop the shape out of the ice with their sticks.
The cook continues to stir their soup, and calls out again, " I'm poor, do you have anything for me?" I offer a chunk of ice I've freed from a container and they thank me for it.
I go and check the branches on our mulberry bush. Another child has joined the group on the ice patch. There are five now, all within a few feet of each other. I'm really enjoying this scene. The past couple of weeks have been rough for these children, their caregivers, and most likely their parents too! It's December and now late December and celebrations are in the air. These celebrations making everyone a little, well, as one child put it best when they said, "everyone is bitza, bitza, bitza!" They even demonstrated the "bitza, bitza," and lay on their back and rolled around shaking they're arms and legs. "Yes, we all have been a little bitza, bitza! " I reply.
Today though, was especially low-key, not that I don't love a little "bitza", but today had this lovely little hum to it and no “bitza”. From the very beginning, to the very end of our day, children were so at ease, so very comfortable with what they were up to. We continued inside with free play and again all these delightful Crickets settled into the playroom, amongst one another, but mostly working on their own. The serenity in the room was tangible. I wondered whether it came from the safety of the space, the bond the Crickets had with one another, or the pure happiness in their own self. I knew It was something very present and it filled my heart.
Impromptu exploring of the ukulele was just what one Cricket had been hoping for and some wintry carol singing ensued as well. All these blissful moments wrapped up together became clear to me as the gift of “us”. Each one of us tangled together by our moments with each other, we seemed to have arrived at this spot of unspoken feelings of trust and support.
This day was special in so many ways; it also happened to be our winter solstice celebration and Crickets worked on decorations for the occasion. Threading needles ever so carefully they made edible garlands of popcorn and cranberries to hang outside for our bird friends.
They also worked on decorating the school for the festivities that would come later in the day. Snowflakes carefully cut out over the past couple of weeks, were hung for all to see.
At the end of our day, families joined us outside to decorate our mulberry bush with all the edible lovelies.
Then it was back inside for a story, songs, and most definitely dancing!
We ended this day with gingerbread decorating (& eating!), a forest adventure, and a hot chocolate toast to an almost sunset.
Many thanks for these delightful Crickets, their light radiating more bright than any sunset!