Acorn and Chocolate Soup
Dark windy mornings, swirling crimson and gold leaves, and periodic downpours, all mark the gradual transition of fall into winter. With this
change comes less certainty each day whether recess will be outdoors, or in. As playground supervisor I have the awesome responsibility of making that call! Not taking it lightly, I check the up to-the-minute weather app on my phone, scan the skies for ominous cloud formations, check the school flag for wind direction, and look for raindrops sprinkling pavement puddles. (I really do. But I have yet to climb to the roof of the school to examine the Weather Bug!) Should it be too rainy to go outside, students play games in their classrooms or gather in the gym for lots of running and basketball. But recently, all elements have been perfect for outdoor recess.
Over the years students have come to regard our play areas as the “upper lot,” directly across from school, and the “downer lot” (makes sense) down the hill in the park. How fortunate we are to have this vast expanse of soccer turf and goals, a play structure for climbing and sliding, grass, trees, and leaves at our disposal.
Several days ago, the sun was out, just a bit. The wind was blowing just enough to stir leaves from the trees. It had poured earlier in the morning. Pockets of water were trapped between tree roots. Students gathered at the corner, straining to cross into the downer lot. Once waved across, like wild mustangs they were immediately on the run! I moved down the hill further into the park as well.
As groups of students peeled away to play soccer, touch football, tag, or four-sqtrees-square-sm.jpguare, others chose to play more inventive games. Three first grade girls were busy leaning short sticks against the base of an oak tree. “Ladies, what are you doing?” “We’re making a house for fairies. We have to find just the right leaves for the roof, and for beds.” I noticed a beetle crawling nearby, and pointed that out to them. Alarmed, they stated sternly “Fairies don’t like beetles.” (Who knew?) They flicked it away with a stick and continued roofing the fairy house. Walking around to the other side of the tree I found another student kneeling next to tree roots. With stick in hand, she firmly stirred dirt into a puddle. I watched as she dropped acorns in several at a time, stirred, and acorn.jpg added a few more. I leaned closer and asked, “What are you making?” Without looking up she replied, “Acorn and chocolate soup.” She kept stirring. “Is it a special recipe?” Reaching for more acorns she said, “It’s a family recipe. It’s kind of a secret Ms. Heidi.” Bending even closer I asked, “May I try it?” She smiled, a little startled by my question. “No, it isn’t ready yet. It needs to cook more.”
I smiled as I walked away slowly, scanning the entire park. Excited voices drifted up the hill, as team ran and bumped against team. Coats were flung off before boys and girls clambered onto the play structure. And of course construction continued on the fairy house, while acorn chocolate soup thickened. No rain, some sun, lovely. How incredibly fortunate we are. I said a quiet prayer of thanks…