We are now onto our 5th week at the Jarrow After School Program and have learned a lot!
As the children arrived, we quickly made our way to Wonderland Lake so we could spend as much time there as possible. We first said hello to the waters and then found our way to some shade to have snack. Snack didn’t last very long as a lot of us were itching to move our bodies and play a game. Although we tried to play a new game, it turned out most people wanted to keep playing grasshoppers and centipedes! Luckily it is a great game that encourages you to rely on your team because you can not run with the ball, only pass it to a team mate or throw it on the ground and run to it. Afterwords we all split up, although not too far away from each other to have a sit spot. A sit spot is one of our core routines of nature connection. In essence it is sitting quietly with nothing to distract you in a wild space. Although it can really be anywhere, even in our backyards, even if we live in a city. The purpose of this seemingly simple exercise is to listen to the land in a different way. Not distracted by getting from point A to point B, we begin to notice things that we never heard or saw or smelled before. We hear birds and noises from far away. We inspect grasshoppers and see colors that we never noticed before. Also doing a sit spot teaches us to enjoy the company of just ourselves which is a very potent lesson indeed :) After the sit spot, we moved on to our main activity. Jamie and I busted out our bowdrill kits and began demonstrating how to make a primitive fire. B.P. Before petroleum! Bowdrill works because of the principle of friction. Do you remember being a child and rubbing your palms together really fast in the winter time and experiencing them getting warm? It is the same concept except at a much higher temperature. Jamie had her kit carved really well and created a coal in less than a minute of drilling! The ducks even came out of the water and got within a few feet of us to check out the action! Everyone got really excited as soon as we saw the thick plume of smoke emerge from her fireboard. She put the coal in a cattail fluff tinder bundle and everyone got a chance to blow on it! Unfortunately cat tail while a good coal extender, is very resistant to actually bursting into flame, so we set the smoking pile afloat on a cottonwood leaf and watched it swim into the lake. All of the kids were really amazed at how you can make fire from such simple materials as some wood and string. I then set out to make a coal of my own! I got a lot of smoke, but before I managed to pop one out we had to go to the parking lot! Oh well, hopefully we will be able to demonstrate friction fire for the parents on the last day. Looking forward to what next week will bring!