Giveaway! Family Tickets To A Magical Storytelling Festival

***GIVEAWAY is closed. Congratulations to Stacy, Stephanie, and Bonny!****

I’m delighted to offer an opportunity for not 1, not 2, but 3 winners to each receive a Family Ticket (worth $50 each) to an amazing storytelling festival taking place this Saturday on my own magical island.

You are a Storyteller, I’m a Storyteller. We human beings all have the gift of storytelling! You might say that the gift of storytelling is perfectly natural to us … part of our true nature.

Don’t believe me?

Think about when you meet with your best friend and you start saying with excitement: “You’ll never guess what happened …!”

Or, at the dinner table, when you share with your family the good and the bad of the day.

Or, when you’re feeling down and you start doodling a frowning or angry or very sad face, or just dark, fierce strokes across a sheet of paper.

All of us are Storytellers, evoking the emotions and feelings and tales that reflect what has happened to us or things that we’re excited, mad, or whatever about with our words, our gestures, our facial expressions.

You’re a Storyteller, I’m a Storyteller. It’s part of our nature.

Many of you may know that I teach with an amazing wilderness program that nourishes deep nature connection with kids (and grown ups too), the Vashon Wilderness Program. Kids in our program come to regard the beings of the natural world as companions and friends, and themselves as just as much a part of nature as anything else. (And I hope that you who are reading this blog feel this way too — that you are a citizen of the natural world, and that it is a citizen of you!).

An essential element of our program is Storytelling. We instructors share stories to inspire, to ignite imagination, to teach, to nourish a sense of awe and “what if”. To have fun.

And we encourage our students to tell stories — to share what they loved about the day, what excites them, what they notice. We cultivate a circle of Storytellers, and of Story Listeners. And as we listen to one another, and respect each others’ tellings, we expand that respect to listening to what the birds have to say … and the trees … and the animals hidden around us.

7th Annual Storytelling Festival - Sat. Feb 1, 4PM at the O Space on Vashon Island, WA
7th Annual Storytelling Festival – Sat. Feb 1, 4PM at the O Space on Vashon Island, WA

For a number of years now, the Vashon Wilderness Program has hosted an outstanding Storytelling Festival This Saturday, February 1st, starting at 4pm will be our 7th! If you live on Vashon Island, or in the Puget Sound region, or know someone who does, consider entering my Giveaway of a Family Ticket to three different winners. This year features four dynamic and masterful storytellers: Allison Cox, Merna Hecht, Steffon Moody, and Gene Tagaban. For the first time too the event includes a light and delicious dinner and dessert.

Each year is an amazing coming together of community in celebration of the magic of nature, the wonder, strength, and beauty of story, and of our rich connection to one another. Whether you win the Giveaway or not, please join us!

Here’s how to enter the Giveaway:

Leave a Comment! For more chances to win leave a separate comment for each of the following that you do:

  • tell us how you are a storyteller, and give an example of how nature has shown up in your storytelling (you can include a relevant link if you’d like)
  • sign up for the Vashon Wilderness Program newsletter, receive their free e-booklet, “10 Awesome Practices to Make Nature a Natural Part of Your Family Life,” and share which practice(s) excite you most
  • browse the Vashon Wilderness Program website, share something that excites you about what you read and/or share about the Storytelling Festival on your blog, or other social media. Leave a comment for each, with links.
  • sign up for my Acorn To Oak free quarterly ezine
  • describe one magical experience you’ve had in nature (you’ll be telling a small story right here!)

Sign ups end Wednesday night. I’ll draw the three winners on Thursday morning, 1/30/14. I’ll then contact you and we can work out how you may receive the ticket (in person or at will call).

Thank you so much for entering this Giveaway! Good luck, and I hope to see you at the Storytelling Festival.

PS To submit your comments, click on each of the images below the comment box, until they rotate to an upright position.

Late Winter Wonders

FoxTales features guest posts by characters from the magical fiction novel, Because Of The Red Fox. This post is written by Annie Wakefield-Browne, cousin to Shell Wakefield (protagonist of the book).

Hi! I’m Annie, and I’m super-excited to be writing to you today. Let me tell you about some of our day, and maybe you’ll tell us about yours.

First off, it’s been crazy rainy and windy at times for the past few days, and hail the size of peas spat down this afternoon. Okay, so it hasn’t been as windy as it was about six years ago. (Folks on the island always talk about that storm if you bring up a topic about wind and rain. You can read what Jane had to say about it in her Wise Child Learning blog post, Thunderbird Takes Wing)

But the hail spat like bee-bees from a bee bee gun onto the backs of the ducks in the poultry yard. Oh, they were so confused for a bit, but eventually waddled under shelter.

Near sunset, though, I wandered¬† out into the field to my favorite Hawthorn tree–she’s kind of like a great-aunt to me, or an elder friend. Anyway, I stopped by to say hello, and I noticed that all kinds of lichen lay on the grasses, blown off by the wind, I guess.¬† Tomorrow I think I might collect some of the lichen for Jane (you know, the writer of our book, Because Of The Red Fox). I think she’d like to make some medicine from lichen, from Usnea, because of its amazing anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Hawthorn In Winter - photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013
Hawthorn In Winter – photo by Jane Valencia (c) 2013

Oh, I bet Aunt Elinn, Shell’s mom, would like some too, because she’s an herbalist–well, I’d call her a green witch. That’s really a better term for what she does.

As I wandered about, noting the Usnea, I started noticing the trails along the edge of the field, close to the blackberry and the woods. Wow! There’s a regular highway along the edges of fields, and lots of turn-offs where the animals lunge into the shrubs. Little tunnels are everywhere in the hedges, if you stop to look.

Who makes these paths?

I found a pile of droppings — deer droppings, I think — near one tunnel that seemed to slice through between some pokey holly. If that tunnel is big enough for a deer, it’s big enough for me! I pushed past the holly and …

… and found myself in an amazing secret place! No one would ever, ever find me if I decided to make this my own private shelter, my own private teahouse even. Well, the deer might find me if they decide to pass through, but I could just crouch by one of the cypress hidden away here, and just think my own thoughts.

… mmm!

I pushed back out of my secret hideaway (it’s really just a pocket of a place been our field and a neighbor’s yard, and then wandered a little further.

By now the grass was glowing green with hidden sunset (the sky was filled with low gray clouds). And down the trail the old apple trees were dancing.

Well, not like they were up and moving. But that’s what they looked like and that’s how they seemed.

And that was my sunset!

So tell me. What do you notice at the edges of your yard or a nearby field , or the edges of any outdoor place? Are there trails, tiny or large? Who or what do you think uses them? Where do they go? Do you notice any tunnels?

Do you have a secret hideaway, right where you are?

Thanks for reading! Good night!

In Your Wild Nature: Imagine Yourself!

You may have seen the imaginative self-portrait photos by 14-year-old Zev, also known as “Fiddle Oak”.

If not (or even if you have), visit this article showcasing his artistry and come back.

So, what do those images inspire in your own imagination? Who among you hasn’t imagined themselves tiny, and how that would change your whole experience of the world (a la The Borrowers and other tales of miniature people)? I love the notion of flying with a ¬† pair of full-size feathers, or even catching a ride on an origami bird. I love the idea of riding a leaf-and-bark boat across a pond alive with moss and enchantment. I love the idea of drawing (or writing) myself into real life.

What strikes your fancy? Feel free to jot your imaginings here!

Curious Birds – photo and origami by Jane Valencia.