The Move to Winter Camp by Fridolin

First quarter of Snow Falling Moon

The Move to Winter Camp

The night was long; the stars mirrored the clear dreams of the people in Waabanong. The first light brings movement into the sleeping bags—long johns…jackets are put onto the shivering skin. The snowflakes sink down gently to cover Mother Earth. The spirits bring clear silence in this dark time.

The fire tells the story of how a seed developed into a proud Maple Tree that was rocked to sleep by the Moon. The story tells of how the tree was uprooted by strong winds long ago.

But this sun, a pack of humans run synchronized in the footprints left by the leader in the snow. While the birds sing their winter songs in the depths of the woods they collect blown down branches and stack them onto their pack frames (self-built wood carrying devices). On the walk back some of the many tracks left by birds and animals reveal their stories and leave questions that beg to be explored. It may take some time until the wood finally arrives at the hearth to warm our bodies, the full pots and dry our clothes.

The sounds of the crackling moist fire wood, the cracking of walnuts and the smacking lips of the inhabitants who are enjoying juicy apples and the left-overs from the night before, create a feeling of home.

Many things are still to do before we can move into the winter lodges. Behind the trees rises a big cloud from smoking the tanned hides in order to make them weather proof for our lodge doors. The last trees are being cut by Rab, Scott and Jeff with the tomahawk until they kneel down and crash onto the ground. That will let more light into our hearth area and every ray of sunlight will bring warmth, joy, and happiness into our everyday life.

Alexandros, Migizi, and Susan prepare the venison, bear fat, and vegetables into a delicious dinner.

The children slide down the hill in the snow. Canto and Diindiis come back into the village each loaded with a bundle of wood on their backs. Ishi and the rest of the kids prepare their own meal. Vegetables, rice, fat, and wild leek bulbs are boiling in their pot. Adults passing by their hearth are not convinced of their cleanliness standards. Therefore we have a buddy system to support them with their hygiene. The children become more and more self-confident and it is beautiful to see and guide them on their way. They also have buddies for carrying water, gathering firewood and cooking.

Dakota and Susan lay out the floors of the winter lodges with birch bark and fir boughs in preparation for comfortable evenings and nights.

In order to support our motivation to make fire, half of the Guardians create a flame primitively each morning. After three days it’s the other half’s turn. No Guardian eats anything until every designated fire-maker has gotten a flame. Sometimes that can take a while-just like today ;o)

The sun goes down and the last wood gatherers and trackers return home to enjoy dinner in the Circle around the fire.