Forest School by Angela Kirk
The days of light were getting shorter and winter was approaching. Papa bear felt Teddy would benefit by learning more about the environment. He discussed this with Mama bear, and they decided today would be the perfect time to introduce Teddy to Forest Schooling.
In preparation for their day out Mama bear packed a lunch with all their favourite foods. She had been busy since harvest time collecting and foraging all that was needed to survive the winter months. She was known for her ability to cook and she shared her bounty with others who were less fortunate. She loved caring and was happy being creative so she sang as she worked.
Papa Bear invited Teddy to accompany him on a ‘special expedition’ into the heart of the forest so he could gain awareness and have lots of fun. A while back Teddy had got lost when he went out alone, so now it was important to teach Teddy how to navigate his way through the land using all his senses.
A Conference of Beings (COB)
They set out full of joy. The sun was shining but it was much colder and Teddy was feeling the chill until he started running around. They came across many neighbours and greeted them all. Papa was known for his wisdom and kindness and was respected. He had been organizing with the forest community a Conference of Beings (COB), to ensure the well being of all creatures. Everyone would be invited to share their knowledge and would meet mid winter, to show ways to protect the forest and care for each other. This meeting was to take place in a few days. Papa told Teddy the purpose of life was to love, serve and be grateful. He said that everyone must consider the totality, and live a life of absolute Truth and Love. He said every being has a unique expression and all Nature is a physical manifestation of God. Teddy listened carefully knowing that he was lucky to learn from his Father.
Papa Bear guided Teddy to an ancient Oak tree. Beneath the tree there were many leaves and Papa instructed Teddy to observe and witness everything. He noticed the difference in the structure and texture of different leaves and plants. There was so much beauty in the morning light. Nearby he saw a magnificent spiders’ web with raindrops that caught the light. Teddy smelt the earth and looked up into the canopy of the trees. This world of wonder looked so amazing from the smallest detail to the bigger picture.
Papa Bear said they could lean against the bark of this magnificent Tree and sit and relax together. Papa Bear suggested Teddy become aware of his breath and ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’ a few times. He asked him to feel into the earth as if he could connect with the roots of the tree. And then to imagine that he was merged with the branches of the tree reaching up to Father sky. Teddy was restless at first but he then experienced a strange sensation. Everything became very still and he felt so calm. There was no need for conversation and Teddy felt himself truly held and hugged by the Tree. He could communicate with all of Nature in this way. He felt a warmth flowing all the way up his back and then returned to his feet. He was completely relaxed. Now when he looked around all the colours were vibrant and everything around him was alive and connected. He felt the Oneness with all of nature and truly inspired. Papa suggested they say a prayer for the well being of all so they could be happy and content. Then they sang to the glory of Nature together, and before long a few other animals came to join them. Pappa was very pleased with their progress.
Slowly they came to, and having eaten lunch continued their journey travelling deeper into the forest. Pappa helped Teddy recognize all the different plants by their texture and smell. He was learning to test and taste the different flavours around him and use his sensitive nose. This was a lesson of discernment so Teddy knew what was good to touch or eat and what should be left alone.
They met more lovely creatures including Gloria Fox. She had remarkable red fur and was preparing her den for the winter but still had time to say ‘hello.’ She said she would meet them at the conference as she had questions and needed support. There was talk of ‘hunting’ that made her sad and fearful. She wanted to keep her family safe.
Their next encounter included a group of mice who were holding paws and singing together. This choir was preparing for the COB celebrations and they needed to practice. To Teddy they looked so small, but he appreciated the singing and their expression of harmony. They gave thanks for this day and sang from their hearts and Teddy appreciated their special contribution.
Teddy was also grateful to have had this day with Papa and knew he needed to be attentive. He was being shown so much that would help him learn what was truly important. Papa counselled that it was good to understand all creatures’ points of view. Some burrowed within the earth whilst others lived above ground, some could swim and some could fly. Each being had a purpose and there was a natural order. If certain laws were followed every creature could benefit. He said that “Everyone has something to give and receive, and with love it is possible to live in harmony and balance.”
This made Teddy consider what special skills he had been given that he could share. Teddy knew he was good at making friends and talking. This gave him the idea that he could listen to stories. He was determined to ask his friends to share wisdom, and in this way learn how they overcame difficulties. This could be helpful and he was excited to get started. And just then, as if he had heard, a wise Owl landed near to them and said he would offer help and be his first candidate to talk with Teddy. Papa was very pleased with his progress and promised there would be plenty of opportunities to learn more.
On the way home they collected mushrooms and gathered honey from a special tree, thanking the bees for their sweetness. Mama bear was delighted to see them back home with so many delicious goodies. It had been such a special day, but now Teddy was tired and fell asleep immediately by the warmth of the fire. What a wonderful experience of Forest School and this was just the beginning of his education.