Tuesday, March 15, 2011

our nature table welcomes spring

As in many Waldorf or Waldorf-inspired homes and classrooms, at our house we have a Nature Table that reflects the seasons and upcoming holidays and the stories that come with these both.  We’re always collecting and bringing in various stones, seed cones, leaves, sticks, lichen and whatnot on our daily walks and adventures and, although these are often used in kitchen play or as parts of various games hither and thither, the table is the main accumulation point for our array of natural treasures.   It is a reflection of the outdoors in a little corner of our cozy home.

Sometimes the table is, to me, a beautiful work of art.  It is meant to be played with though and can also turn into messy, dirty, seed and crumbly leaf covered territory.  Nature is like that.  Gritty, grimy and glorious all at the same time.  It’s part of what we love about her.

Because our time courting Mother Nature out of doors of late has been more limited, what our Nature Table is currently reflecting is the stories we’re telling of the coming of Spring.  Our favorite this time around is The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers.  In this sweet tale, the root children sleep underground in Winter under the care of wise Mother Earth.  As Spring comes they awaken, sew new dresses and emerge as blossoms into the warming season.  The story follows them through Summer (where they meet our favorite snail, Father Sliffslaff-Slibberslak) and in Autumn they return once more to their home underground.
 I’ve had a few failed attempts at making little bean-bag style root children dressed all in brown to join Mother Earth at the table.  I’m working on a new design though and hope to finish a few before the Spring Equinox arrives and the root children exchange their drab coverings for beautiful Spring flower dresses.  In the meantime, we’ve welcomed Father Sliffslaff-Slibberslak! 

 To make him, we used some sweet smelling Stockmar modeling beeswax and a seashell from our summer collection.  I had been reluctant to embrace the beeswax as a craft for Naiya because it seemed difficult to work with.  It’s hard and warming it in hands takes a long time.  A few days ago though, we took some into the bath and eureka! what others have probably known since the dawn of modeling wax, we discovered in our bath.  To soften it just set it in a bit of warm water.

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