Greetings from Namanu!
You know November has come when camp is quiet, the woods are still, and you go to bed a little earlier every night. I love the hushed feel of this cool month, how the leaves have fallen and you see your squirrel pals frantically putting away snacks for the cold season ahead. I love the breezy storms and the heavy rains, and the clear days in between. November is a month to curl up, appreciate the quiet, and get ready for winter.
Ready for winter
At the end of the final week of Outdoor School, we elves and fairies said our tearful goodbyes to the staff, waved at the last bus full of kids, and prepared for a boring time ahead. But right away, there were people! More people, busily getting camp ready for the winter! They chopped wood, fixed the little things that needed fixing, and seemed to have a great time at camp. Everything—from the buildings, all snug for the winter, to the piles of wood drying out for next season—seems ready for Namanu’s quietest season.
After we said our goodbyes to the people from work weekend, we elves and fairies checked our calendars to make sure no more groups would be on their way, and then we planned our two big annual November parties: Fall Ball and Thanksgiving. Fall Ball, a big affair among the elves, fairies, and woodland critters of Namanu, was a blast. The robins brought punch, while the elk brought a lovely salad, and after a big feast the fairies lit up the meadow, and we all danced the night away.
The next morning, when I awoke, I looked out my tree to see that this year’s Fall Ball had been a big success: The meadow was a big field of mud! I hadn’t realized it the night before, but our dancing tore the meadow to bits. I was a little concerned—embarrassed, even—until I made up my mind to tell Yosemite Sam what had happened. I walked, head down, over to his house, and when I told him, he thanked me! I felt all my nervousness evaporate as he told me how the humans were planning to dig up the meadow this month, to work on the water system and make it more level. He told me that next time he needs a big area dug up he’ll let me know, and even pitch in some snacks for the party. Whew!
I think everybody needs a good, hearty feast in November, to eat some of the delicious harvest and fatten up for winter. This year Gertrude offered to host the feast in Raker Lodge. We all brought heaps of food; the squirrels brought a great nut dish, and some songbirds made a lovely elderberry sauce. Just like at other Thanksgiving feasts I’ve heard about, there was something for everyone; the geese brought a worm casserole, which I wasn’t so keen on, but I heard was delicious. After great conversations and tidings from everyone (plus some hot nettle tea!) we went home warm and happy, ready for the winter to come. I hope you, dear campers, are also warm and happy, and thinking of Namanu as winter approaches.