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Friends at the Party

At Holden we met up with an older man while hiking.  We talked as we hiked together and learned he was from the area and knew a lot about the wildlife along the trail.  He took time to introduce us to plants, edible berries, rocks and the geological history of the area.  He shared with us something that an elder had told him that struck a chord with me.

He said, if you go to a party and you don’t know anyone, it’s not likely that the party is going to be very fun.  But if you go to a party and know lots of people, it’s more likely to be a great time.   And that’s how it is when spending time in the wild. The more wildlife you know, the more likely it is going to be a good time.  You aren’t as alone. You are connected.  

As we travel, we are trying to pause long enough to get to know some of the ‘friends at the party’.  We are getting to know the plants, rocks, tides, and animals, including the human neighbors we cross paths with.   

We don’t have a formal curriculum for the kids’ homeschooling, but ‘friends at the party’ is a frame we are using.  In each new place we are learning who are the people are indiginous to this area. how has time and climate shaped this land.  How has the land shaped the language, economy, food and politics.  What might this place look like in a few generations.

One of the questions that keeps me up at night is whether it was the ‘right’ decision to take our 12 year old out of school against his preference. Being away from home helps us pay attention to ourselves, each other and the ‘friends at the party’ with a different quality of noticing. I hope these skills will serve him (and all of us) well when back in more regular life.

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