Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wild Days at the Shore: Mud, Birds, Crabs, Fun

I realize as I look at these that the photos don't quite capture either 1) the number of gorgeous birds that we saw or 2) the thick gooeyness of the mud (clay, really) that covered four of the seven kids. When we sprayed them off, it didn't come off immediately - and when it did, it was so thick that the mud not only seemed to resist, but revealed layers that included small shells. They had a lot of fun with the mud (those who wanted to avoided it) and the wet ones got changed and warm just before it got itchy and uncomfortable. A beautiful day - cloudy but dry for the first few hours, then sunny and perfect for the rest.

I brought a water quality experiment to do and lots of bird identification resources, but their creative play was too intense and interactive to interrupt. It is so fascinating to watch them resolve conflict, negotiating and finding creative solutions. G and a friend both complained to me at one time about the other, for example, but when I asked them for their solutions, they decided to divide the space they had been arguing over in half and create an imaginary door in the middle "for you [me]." It was also really amusing to watch a couple of very clean, very organized groups from the local school (we recognized some kids) come through on a tour. I heard the docent explaining what a flock of birds was to a group of five-six year olds all seated peacefully and surrounded by clean parents (what's that like?) while ours ran wildly in the background, literally dancing in the grass and quoting Shakespeare at each other. To me it looked like the very essence of joyful freedom, creative minds celebrating life.

"I love these flowers because I am patriotic and love California" said one of our friends. Another time, I overheard G telling one of the girls that she is "one of [her] five best friends." Curious, the other little girl asked who the others were. She listed three. "What about numbers four and five?" "Oh, I don't know them yet." So lovely and optimistic, to create an expectation of future opportunities.

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