It’s always there–
A tiny spark, and a space opens up.
The idea bubbles, it gains momentum and cracks wide open.
“Let’s move the log and see if the snakes are there!”
A dozen kids immediately say, “Yeah, we can do it!”
Like it would be easy as jumping on a swing to move a 400 pound log that has sat very comfortably in one spot in the Valley for almost 10 years!
It was a regular Wednesday afternoon meeting of our Sunflower Roots & Shoots club. The self-named Shooting Stars climbed trees, chased each other around, imagined themselves as explorers and discoverers of new life, sang songs and had just finished our first task of the day– showing care and concern for the environment, animals and people by scouring our nature playground and Learning Garden for trash and treasures. Wheelbarrows and a wagon became the collection vehicles. Trash was dumped into the can and treasures (beads, a jewel, colored stones, shells, a piece of yarn, anything shiny) were tucked into pockets.
We gathered on the biggest log to talk about the rest of our meeting. Somehow we started talking about snakes. I told them how once I saw a hawk sitting right on this log and thought he might be watching for the black racers that sometimes slither under the log for a tasty lunch. “I think I just saw one today!” “I did a few weeks ago!”
My plan had been to harvest lettuce, make a big salad together and eat it, but the Possibility of Something Important happened. The kids decided to move the log– roll it over to see what is underneath. To be honest, I never thought there was any way anyone could move that log without a forklift, which was how it had been delivered to us from Gumbo Limbo Nature Center years ago.
The children had no such doubts. They pushed, they pulled, they grunted and groaned. A mom joined them on one end, a dad on the other, and it started wiggling. I felt compelled to yell “When it rolls over you might need to stand back if the snakes come out!” just before the log rolled over and away about two feet. You could smell the earth beneath and see the wonder of life crawling all over the long-hidden underbelly. A huge uproar of squeals and screams of joy, shock and amazement poured from the Shooting Stars.
Two dozen pairs of eyes were glued to all they had uncovered! A bright yellow centipede, a bazillion millipedes, black spiders, ants and beetles and bugs never before seen. But no snakes. A small disappointment to just a few.
I brought out the drawing boards, good paper, crayons and colored pencils and everyone drew like crazy!
Our meeting was coming to a close.
Everyone rolled the log back.
The kids went home having satisfied a huge Possibility of Something Important Happening!
We’ll make a salad next week.
At Sunflower, we firmly believe that hands-on learning experiences through Play, Nature and the Arts are absolutely essential for healthy human development. We are experts at making room for the Possibility of Something Important Happening, so it does, many times each day in small and spectacular ways in each of our programs.
Post and Photos by Susan Caruso