It's Good to Be Back

It's Good to Be Back

by Alex Gemme

TiKahh..TiKahh..TiKahh..TiKahh...  The sound of sparks echos around the circle.  Snow is just beginning to fall outside of the shelter, and there is anticipation in the air.  The spark catches and, breath by breath, it is brought to life as singing fills the air.  Growing until the entire fire structure is engulfed.  Smiles go around the circle and we settle in to warm our toes as a story is told.


After we finish our snacks, we prepare ourselves for an epic game of Turkey and Coyote.  A simple game, but with clear relevance to our ecosystem.  Its our first day back in over a month and there is a lot of energy around base camp.  The weather couldn’t be better, with calm winds and snow expected for most of the day.  Already our tracks are filling in and visibility becoming blurred.  Few animals are out and about today, and the only sound that breaks the silence is the occasional call of the raven, dampened by the fresh snow.


A lot has changed in the past six weeks, since the last time we were all together.  Base camp has had a roof constructed and firewood is stacked in preparation for the cold months ahead.  Two more people have also just joined our community and folks couldn’t be more eager to show them around.   

Between the ages of 7 and 28, we now make up a group of eight enthusiastic, curious, thoughtful and creative kids.  Together we observe and question, follow tracks and work together, explore new places and learn new skills.

We head out from our shelter, running whopping and sliding through the freshly fallen snow.  With no thought of the past and little thought to the future, we chase the slowly fading tracks of the wild turkeys down the hill, in hopes of catching even a glimpse of these majestic birds.

For the next 4 months, we will be coming together weekly, cooking our lunch over the fire and getting to know our landscape in a deeper and more intimate way.  I reflect as I sit back in my post-lunch sit spot.  The snow is falling harder and the smell of woodsmoke drifts through the air.

I take a deep breath in.  

Its good to be back.


This story was written by Village School mentor and farmer, Alex Gemme. Photos were captured by both Alex and Bekah Gordon, and audio was recorded by resident environmental artist, Nancy Winship Milliken.