On this cool, windy day, the children scuffled along through the autumn leaves.
Some ran on ahead before playfully falling to the soft grass aided by the gentle force of the wind. One child took advantage of the large fallen leaves, setting them to sail on the lake as little ‘rafts’. Another gathered a bundle together to take along with her.
This autumn day also seemed to invite a multitude of birds to the lakeside surrounds. Some ducks came to visit the children while they were ‘fishing’.
In the distance, a flock of Cormorants perched on a rocky outcrop.
The children were captivated by the stillness of the birds, whispering quietly ‘they are standing like a statue’.
When a helicopter flew overhead, the unexpected noise disturbed the birds setting them in flight.
Despite this flurry of activity, it was the memory of the birds as motionless on the rock that seemed foremost in the children’s minds. A few commented for some time afterwards ‘I think they were statues, because they were not moving’.
It is easy to get caught up in thinking that children need action, motion and excitement to draw and keep their attention. Yet, on this windy walk, as on others, it was just as often the small things that were still or barely moving that captured their curiosity.
For instance, as a group of his friends ran through the leaves, one child spotted a small caterpillar on a leaf and gently lifted it out of the way to a safer place.What was it about the unassuming presence of this small creature, in midst of such activity and commotion, that first drew his attention?
Noticing these child-bird and child-caterpillar interactions reminds us that the intimacies of stillness can be as compelling as the excitement of movement on a blustery day.