Week 16 | Fox Walkers at Whatcom | Dear Deer...

This past Friday at Whatcom, our Fox Walker Day was infused with a lot of Deer energy! We were enjoying our delicious snack which included some fresh popped popcorn with a little maple syrup.  I was in the middle of telling the crew a story about our local Big Leaf Maple Tree and the time Moon Bird and Running Deer learned to make delicious syrup from the BLM to put on their Cattail fluff pancakes when a Mama deer and her yearling fawn walked past the playground and right past our snack table towards Heart Home.   When I realized they weren’t coming to hear me tell the story, I quieted down and we all watched these beautiful wild creatures move past us.  Mama ate some fallen greens on the ground and baby ran to catch up.  We were are appreciative of the deer and made a note to track then when were all finished with story!

These are the moments that we cannot create and just have to go with the flow to experience.  We started tracking the deer from the last place we saw them which happened to be in the direction of one of our favorite mud puddles!   It wasn’t challenging from there to find some very fresh deer tracks and see what direction they were headed… Deer tracks conveniently “point” in the direction of travel.  After getting only a little distracted splashing and making tracks of our own we followed our ungulate friends under a large cedar and into the forest.  A few of the older boys were very fired up about tracking and were able to find tracks even in the forest where the substrate is much more challenging to read.  As we got to “Cat Pounce Playground” (working title for our new parkour gym ;) )  we looked up and gasped in excitement — just 30 steps away were Mama Deer and her Fawn!!!  Their Deer Ears were working overtime and pointed right on us. 

Melissa helped take advantage of this moment to encourage a little group sit spot time.  We sat on the logs of our play zone and watched as Mama groomed her little one amongst the sword ferns.  This was very precious.  We decided that we should let the deer have some quiet time and that the Fox Walkers should move further into the forest to let out some of our big energy! Were these the same deer we had seen munching cedar fronds a few months ago? I suspect yes! We said our goodbyes and fox walked into the forest. 

The rest of the day was a lot of fun but went by too quick.  We let out big energy on the original “Parkour gym”;  played a really fun inverted hide-and-seek type game called “Sardines”; explored logs for grubs, salamanders, worms and pill bugs; found deer feeding spots; built fairy houses, went mushroom hunting and learned how to tell sword ferns apart from the rhizome-spreading Licorice Root Fern which loves to grow in the thick moss covering the Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trees of the Pacific NW.