Saturday, May 4, 2013

Web of Life

Journal notes written last year at this time while chaperoning a 5th grade field trip to the WOLF (Web of Life Field) school at Camp Cazadero, Cazadero, CA. 

This afternoon we take a blindfold hike to the purple meadow. First the boys guide the girls, then they switch. Nobody complains about the steepness of the trail.

It is terribly sneezy in the upper meadow. Dry grass laced with California poppies. We sit with our sketchbooks and draw the contours of a rock cliff with a face like a dog. There is nothing like a mountaintop meadow with a view. Purple flower clusters on tall stems. Twitter of songbirds. Bright orange monkeyflower.

This morning I sat and sipped hot tea on the cabin steps in the warmth of the sun; so quiet I could hear the whooshing wing beats of a solitary crow flying overhead. Woodpecker taps. Call of a quail. Some kind of human activity from the dining hall.

Nighttime astronomy, we are being devoured by mosquitoes while listening to the naturalist tell a story about how the night sky was formed, and that hummingbirds are responsible for the stars. I take a look through the viewfinder of the telescope and catch a glimpse of the pocked and pebbled moon. Then Saturn, complete with rings – so tiny it resembles a bright sticker I could place in my journal.

Shooting star – a brief meeting between two like-minded people who won't ever meet again in the physical world. 

The rabbit in the moon.

After our moon-shadow walk down to the waterfall, the girls run barefoot out of the cabin across the field to see the silver fox recently spotted running under picnic tables. The waterfall made me feel like I was in another country, so lush and green with a small pool at the bottom. EcuadorPeru?

At lights-out, the naturalist named Raccoon stops by the cabin to serenade the girls, who have caught a second wind after seeing the silver fox. They crown the tiny bathroom with murmurs and giggles while applying face cream and brushing out hair. At her prompting they head for their bunks. Lights out, in bed, we are covered with a blackness not usually seen back home where a constant glow of light emanates from our small town homes. Here it is too dark to even see my hand. Raccoon sings a lullaby, Lean on Me and at the conclusion of the third verse the cabin is silent, and remains so even after she and her flashlight slip out the back door and into the evening air, leaving us to our further savor the silence and invite the overnight fog.