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Docent Day 2010

October 4, 2010

Orange County Wild (a coalition of wildlands land managers from different O.C. agencies) sponsors a volunteer training day every year–Saturday’s event was the 13th annual. The host site rotates each time, to give volunteers the opportunity to visit the many interesting wild organizations in the area. This year’s host was Rancho Sonado, home of Inside the Outdoors (the O.C. Dept. of Ed’s outdoor education site in Santiago Canyon).

It absolutely poured for about fifteen minutes during the second program of the morning. This was a big distraction to me as we were out on a loop trail learning about Ethnobotany, and all I could do was hang in the back and marvel at the smell and feel and sparkle of rain on a warm autumn morning. The trail got so slippery I “had” to take off my sandals and go barefoot in the mud for traction–another fabulous tactile distraction.

I tried to capture the rain-during-hot-sunshine feel on my camera, but of course couldn’t get close. But if you look carefully, you may see raindrops (the black “spiky” shapes are the remains of shrubs burned in the 2007 Santiago Fire).

Later, when things had dried out, Mark Mendez displayed and discussed his collection of family artifacts. Mark is Chumash (Central Coast area Indians), and made most of the articles in the photo with/for his family–including the cradleboard in the foreground which his son used.

Mark’s presentation was one of nine, on a wonderful variety of topics (Wilderness Survival, Tidepools, Birds of Prey . . . you get the idea . . . lots of fascinating experts talking about their passions for an interested audience of volunteer naturalists who then can share this information in their future interpretive programs).

One last photo–I tried and tried to get an image of native plants dripping after the downpour; everything dried up so quickly it was difficult. In a shady, wet area, though, there were cattails growing below the main pond where the drops lingered . . .

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kelly permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:58 pm

    When I woke up on Docent Day, I was slugging my way through a major throwdown with depression. I REALLY REALLY didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to hunker down in my hideyhole and just let my brain be engulfed in that state of gray.

    But I forced myself to get out of bed and my mood shifted to sharp-edged anger. I terriblized the day in my mind: I’d get lost…get a flat tire…there wouldn’t be space in the workshop I wanted.

    I cursed my way down the road, giving the finger to every red light. I was in full-throttled snarl when I had to stop for gas. And yet, as I stood at the gas pump, smothered by the misery of mood, I said: “God, if you ever wanted to give your girl a valentine, please let there be a space open in the Nature and Art workshop.”

    I surely didn’t deserve an answer.

    And yet, the answer I got was beyond what I’d hoped or imagined.

    Sama Wareh led the “Nature and Art” class through a magical journey where we learned to draw simply by being able to describe what we saw and to break complex objects down to their simplest form.

    The most enchanting project, to me, was a trail journal made by cutting a good-sized rectangle out of a cardboard box and creating a tri-fold. I thought, “This will be perfect for trail writing.”

    My next workshop, Wilderness Survival, was a true delight. The thing that struck me most about this young man is that this is a guy who changes lives. He leads bratty teenaged skate rats in wilderness survival and opens up a new world to them. Makes them see their own worth. He’s also the kind of storyteller who holds his whole audience in the palm of his hand.

    At the end of the day, I was just fully rocked back on my heels with the goodness of God. I’d started out the day as a horrific brat and yet I was blessed beyond measure with learning and beauty and friendship. I asked for a simple valentine but I got a heart filled with blessings instead.

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