Title stolen via Malcolm Green from Ashley Ramsden.
So we have spent nine days. Nine full days with nineteen children from five to seven. Nine days intensive. Nine days in the forest becoming intimate with four trees.
First the birch, crisp and silver and maidenly. Pretty as a birch tree as the Russian fairy tales have it. And after the Russian tale was told that first day in May the bubbling of them as they ran up and recognised her, the pink inner bark, checking the colors of their own skin against hers.
Second the fir. Tallest and male and what a clear water we walked beside to visit them. Playing with his cones.
Third the willow. The shrill whistles, soft pussy seeds, bending and planting her branches to thrive again.
And then the rowan. And she won the children’s hearts. Her red clustered berries, seven, eight, nine leaved leaves, her magic wands. She they climbed most, her smooth shiny nutty bark they loved to cut.
Cut. Cutting with sharp knives they cut clarity into their minds.
I was working with Eva Bakkeslett. She has long long experience working with children to open their hands to the living art which nature pushes out of the ground each moment. I too have a long history watching the play of the small ones, putting in my oar in to spur them further.
But play of words has taken over the last years, story has taken over, now what delight to reenter the riches of craft leaf and twig.