The Forest School Winter Spiral
As we move into the darkest time of the year, let us spiral inside to find the light within. Bringing it out, and sharing it amongst the community. Let our inner light bring us through until the warm sun returns.
The children will create a Spiral of evergreen bows that we will walk through as we all sing songs that we've been learning through the fall months. A candle is lit in the center of the spiral, a symbol of life amidst the dead of winter. Then, as we sing, each child and parent in turn takes a candle into the center of that spiral and lights it, then places the candle in a glass container on the path. The lights brighten the path for those who come after.
This is a celebration of quiet confidence, of carrying light in darkness, of sharing that light with others. You are invited to attend this festival, not only to watch your own children, but to watch how they are in the community of their peers. How does each child approach the candle at the center of the spiral? Are his footsteps halting or rapid? Does she stop along the way to consider each branch and decoration on the path before placing her candle near the way out of the spiral, or does she set it down right away and hurry on without looking back? Being a witness to this journey can be a moving experience, and adults and children alike carry away from the festival the feelings and meaning they found within it.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are entering the darkest days of the year. The sun is down by dinner time, and even at noon the shadows are long and slanting. Holiday preparations are in full swing, and our minds swirl with plans for gifts, meals, treats, crafts, decorations, travel, cleaning. When we look out into the natural world, we see the opposite of this constant, harried motion. The earth is growing quiet. The plants and animals are storing away food for the cold months or preparing to sink into dormancy. When the snow comes, the quiet will be even deeper.
It is no accident that so many festivals are planned for these dark days. Celebrations of light, community, sharing — these remind us to carry the gifts of summer with us into the quiet of winter. At the time of the longest night, we find joyful celebrations of returning light. The Jewish celebration of Hannukah, the remembrance of the rededication of the Temple and of the miracle of lamps whose oil should have lasted one day and lasted for eight, falls at this time of year. The Hindu festival of lights, Divali, has just passed. Many earth-based traditions honor the winter Solstice with special joy, lighting fires and candles and exchanging gifts.
4:00 Winter Spiral
5:00 Hot drinks and Snack Luck in the dining hall
5:30 Cleanup and goodbye
What to Bring
A Candle (*make sure to bring enough candles for your children and all adults attending.)
A candle holder (Glass jars with tea lights work best because they block the wind)
A potluck dish
A mug for hot drinks and personal dishware.
Warm Winter Clothes
Directions and Parking
Please park in our lot and cross the road with the farmhouse on your right. We will be in the field right next to the farmhouse.
After the ceremony, we will go to the dining hall for Snack Luck.