Greetings from Namanu!
Goodness, after this month I am stuffed! There’s just so much to eat in April. Every weekend I’ve had friends over for feasts of fern fiddleheads, horsetail shoots, oxalis leaves, and miners’ lettuce. It’s a delicious time at Namanu, with bright green new life poking out of every surface. And my friends! Besides my elf and fairy friends, I’ve had time to catch up with animal pals who spent the winter barely awake, and I’ve also had the chance to see bird friends who come to stay during their migrations. When I haven’t been socializing, I’ve sloshed through Namanu’s thick mud, watching kids and construction. Most days have been chilly and rainy, perfect for April.
Eavesdropping at school
This month’s Outdoor School students have taken some strange routes around camp, what with mud and construction (more on that later), but they’ve seen so much cool stuff! Last week a group saw a pygmy owl. Lots of kids have seen my delightful and melodious friend, the varied thrush. Eavesdropping in the dining hall, I heard some kids even saw a river otter, gamboling about the Sandy River! I dashed down to the river as quickly as I could, but it must have already gone to bed for the evening by the time I got there. Still, I sat by the river for awhile. It was just a little misty, and in the twilight, everything was calm and quiet. I watched the river rush by for awhile, and then headed home to the warmth of my tree.
Every Friday, the kids plant a tree to symbolize their week at Namanu. It’s a dignified, simple affair; everyone gathers between Ginny’s Lodge and the pool, and children have different roles in the ceremony. I love watching this tiny forest grow, little by little.
And on the weekends…
Namanu has never been lonely this month. Outdoor School has barely left before groups show up for the weekend! One very warm Saturday, I watched a group of kids practicing outdoor skills. They hiked, cooked on campfires, and learned all sorts of things. I learned a few things myself! Another group of kids had fun while being recognized for selling some sort of candy (which I’m sure is very tasty, although not as sweet as a spring fiddlehead). And last weekend we had another sweet group, staying in tents in the meadow! That takes some courage, during April. Some humans from last summer (Derby, Firefly, and A-Pos) have stopped by to help out, and I always love seeing them again.
Fledgling Blue Wing
Everyone seems to love Uncle Toby’s Story House; these butterflies even decided to check out the new chimney. We’ve had campfires in the building almost every night. I love climbing the new staircase up to Backwoods, and sitting up there, with my legs dangling down into the Story House, while the children laugh and sing. Even on cold April nights, Uncle Toby’s seems warm and inviting.
Sometimes I get into the mood for a particularly muddy trek through the woods, and now I know where to go. Do you remember last month, when I mentioned they had moved the construction equipment to the Blue Wing area? Well, lo and behold, this month they’ve started building cabins! Right now they’ve got foundations, and a little bit of structure, and a whole lot of mud all around. I had some elf and fairy friends over the other night, and everyone had something to say about the construction. Some wondered what the cabins would look like, and others remarked on the nice people working on the cabins, but everyone seemed so excited to have Blue Wing back. It looks like they may even be ready for summer!
Yesterday was warmer, so I walked down to the river and sat in a mossy tree for quite some time. It’s a quiet spot, next to a creek alongside the Sandy River, and I sat there and thought for a long time. There have been so many changes at Namanu since I moved here. Even the river has changed. Some of my favorite sitting spots have washed away, and others have replaced them, but there’s this one spot where it’s always quiet, and the big-leaf maples seem ancient. That’s where I go when I want to think about all the wonderful things that have happened here, and when I want to dream about what the future might hold.
While I was walking home the rain began again, and I took shelter under one of my favorite umbrellas. I sat there until dark, and thought about all of you, and when you’ll be here next. I hope it’s soon! It’s not too long until summer camp. Just a little more rain, and then I’ll be seeing you all in the brilliant sunshine.