Celebrate: Following Wonder

For some time I’ve felt the need to adventure outside and read more. To refill with words, ideas, and experiences. The need to walk, to look, to experience was met last week when I had the privilege to travel over ocean waters, to nighttime trails, and rocky beaches. To adventure on Catalina Island with 102 fifth graders.

The first day, I walked with a few students who lagged behind. Those who were attracted to that rock, that rounded piece of discarded brick, that piece of drying kelp.

One student walked purposely, attempting to save every tiny pelagic red crab who had unintentionally washed up on the rocky shore. She would gently pick one up. Walk as close as she could to the water and attempt to throw it back. Too often the tide was no match for her arm, and the crab would come rushing back. She kept trying. Crab after, crab.

We got to the pier, she paused, looked up and said, “This would make a great picture.”  And walked on head down searching for stranded crabs. Following her lead,  I looked up.

She continued. I followed her up the rocky beach to join the others.

Later we saw birds. Seagulls drifting magically overhead. Idyllic blue skies.  Once again, picture perfect. With those helpless red crabs, below.  Unseen.

Above the beach, high in the eucalyptus tree sat a bald eagle. White-headed, gazing out over the coastline.  Then he took flight. We watch him soar. Kids chanted, “USA! USA!” as they have been coached to do to alerting others that there is a bald eagle in flight. He is beautiful. Until he snags a seagull takes his meal on the beach amongst the dying crabs.

My red crab rescuer looks at me. Pained. Her expression says this is not right. The circle of life or food chain reasoning doesn’t satisfy her. I can’t blame her.

We go on. We study. We humans.   
She sits. Head resting on her hands.

Looking back over the week, I wonder what students brought home. Along with a smuggled rock or two, I hope students have learned. I hope they hold onto the feeling of being outside. I hope they did something that challenged them. The learning, the experience matters. But mostly I hope they brought back a wondering. Something that makes them want to do something. About something. For their future. Maybe for all our futures.

When we return from Spring Break, we will venture into our wonderings for the last few months of the school year. This week I celebrate following fifth graders into learning and wonder.

Find more Celebration posts here at Ruth Ayers Writes.

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