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  • Sally-Ann Anderson

Finding Fish in the Forest

A reflection from the field, by Miss Brie

There was a beautiful blue sky above us today in the bosque with our Treeschoolers, Miss Dana, and Miss Brie (subbing for Sally). We welcomed new Treeschooler Alma and we are glad to have her with us! Teacher Dana taught us to listen to our breath, and we sang lots of songs in the morning circle, and then we walked the boundary line with Alma to show her our new play space. There was lots of mud kitchen fun before lunch, and during lunch Teacher Dana read a book called the "Golden Rule", which spoke to how the rule is worded around the world. The wind started to get a little gusty, so we decided to pack up and roam from our site to adventure! This led to several instances when we paused to ask the group - where should we go next? We asked for ideas from the Treeschoolers, and considered each one. We then closed our eyes, asked our hearts what they wanted to do next, and took a vote. Since we did this a few times, we learned about listening to our inside voice, expressing our ideas and opinions within a community, and the democratic process. We came upon two fishermen who were very kind. We must have voted to watch them for 20+ minutes (that's long for this age!). Eventually one of the men caught a fish, and we went to see. The fish was bloody, and the man explained that the fish had swallowed the hook, which cut it inside. He was planning to take the fish home to eat. We watched him remove the hook and put the fish on a stringer. At first I'll admit I was worried as to how the Treeschoolers would react to this. They were curious, and perhaps a little scared, but.... mostly curious. I spoke to this without judgement, and spoke to how lots of people catch food for themselves (like my family), here and around the world. I asked the kids, "Do you eat meat at home? This man is catching his own meat! It's very fresh this way. Some people eat meat, some eat fish, and some do not eat meat at all". A few children shared that they love salmon and a few have fished before – even ice fishing! We were at a place this summer for a few weeks when the forest closed, called Sanctuario de Karuna. I don't believe we shared too deeply about the philosophy of the sanctuary with our youngest students last summer (it's a vegan-inspired rescue and sanctuary for farm animals that otherwise would have been slaughtered) and I wonder what those students might have thought about today's fish. I myself come away with a deep appreciation for clean water, wild fish, tradition, and yet also sadness, and much gratitude, for the fish.

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