Howwwwwl! We had such a great time on our Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk this year. And what an insightful, inspiring, and energetic bunch of thinkers — kids, parents, and costumed creatures alike!!
Ready for adventure, our group loaded onto our festively-adorned hayride wagon at Silver City Saloon and headed to Merlin Nature Preserve. Met by Wizard Meegoff (a.k.a. Mike Chapman) and his bat messenger friend, Batween (a.k.a. Martin Richard), we were asked to answer a riddle which, if answered correctly, would open the gate for us to enter the magical land of Merlin and result in some special delivery goodie bags for each of our young adventurers.
Together, we figured out the answer…and voila! Our story & fun began.
This year’s theme was “The Tale of the White Wolf of Merlin” — an imaginative story about a wolf who set off to help her fellow wolf friends escape danger by bringing them back to her place of refuge. In her absence, a looming presence (ill-intentioned ghosts) took over the land threatening to turn the rich & flourishing preserve into a lifeless blob of doom.
With the White Wolf of Merlin gone (which we confirmed by doing a group howl to see if she would answer…and, alas, no answer!), there was no force present to chase the ill-intentioned ghosts off. They were moving in in masses; their force was strong. Because of this, and all of the energy she was going to have to focus on bringing her wolf pals back safely, the White Wolf of Merlin needed our help.
The White Wolf of Merlin invited each of us to answer riddles and play a role, working together with the guidance of our fringed-arm story-crafter and guide Palo (a.k.a. Mitch) to find clues the wolf left for us along the path. Once found, we had to figure out the answers out together. This required things like:
- Critical, creative thinking
- Making distinctions
- Putting ideas together, together
- And more…
Then….we had to take action — which, in our case, meant that we must complete a series of “shaking off the ghosts” FREEZE dances led by Elfina (a.k.a Marisa) next to one of the White Wolf of Merlin’s favorite spots on the preserve, the outdoor classroom and pond.
(To do this, of course, we first had to fuel ourselves up with some hot cider & fresh-baked treats — which were lovingly prepared by friends of the preserve and drop-delivered by a raven friend of the wolves!)
After completing our dances at the pond, we opted to put an extra “one-two punch on things,” by listening to the ghost story stylings of Batween — who performed two Halloween stories that ill-intentioned ghosts are known to fear (Good ghosts don’t mind them and they are welcome on the preserve!). We did this while heading back to a side exit gate of the preserve so that we could sprinkle the good energy across the preserve. This is where our final test came.
To ensure that our efforts were not for not, we needed to do a group howl again. If we had completed our mission successfully, we should hear the howl of the White Wolf of Merlin and her wolf pals returning to the preserve. We dug deep, did our best set of howls….and soon, with some focused auditory sleuthing, we all heard what we had hoped for.
Somewhere, off in the distance…..
beautiful cry of wolves.
Hip-hip-howlray!!! We did it! What a beautiful day of imagination, discovery, questions, working together, insight, action, reflection, abstraction, synthesis….and more questions.
Philosophy & community in motion. HOWL!!!!!
Huge thank you’s all of our young thinkers (and adult thinkers) who helped to make our day so much fun, to our community volunteers — Marie Z. Bourgeois, Erna Jensen, and Mimi Wolok — for baking us up fresh goodies, and to fellow Halloween walk & philosophy-loving buddies Mike Chapman, Martin Richard, and Mitch Conway.