This week marks the end of the school year for my first grader and preschooler. As days have become weeks and weeks have become months, we find ourselves mostly outside. This week, we explored Shelburne Pond and the land near our house. We talked about how we will use our voices to speak up for change and how people around the country and around the world are also speaking up for change.
Everywhere we looked, we saw metaphors in nature. On Saturday, we found a snakeskin in our backyard. We think it belongs to the snake we spotted days earlier slithering around the shrubs. My first grader explained to my preschooler that snakes shed their skin through molting. Online research told us that snakes are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality and healing. They shed their skin so that they can both grow and also get rid of the parasites attached to their old skin.
Near Shelburne Pond, we found a turtle carrying its home on its back. Its shell provides both shelter and protection We were carrying an enormous backpack stuffed with everything we might need for our outing, so we could relate.
We even found a frog at the pond and talked about its life cycle, and its ability to change so masterfully that it becomes unrecognizable from its earlier tadpole self.
We caught up with our bird friend in the backyard, who has made a nice life for itself in our birdhouse, with the freedom to come and go as it pleases. We believe this chickadee is creating a nest to lay eggs.
Nature has a way of turning over, of shedding its skin, of changing. I’ve been thinking about the bird eggs and hatchlings we will likely witness soon. In order for a creature to be born, it must first shatter and dismantle the very thing that has been its source of protection. An egg can’t hatch unless it breaks.