After our recent blog on Mid Winter celebrations, we received a tweet from one of our Twitter pals, Juliet Robertson @CreativeSTAR. Juliet told us about The Snowdrop Story, a delightful story about how a snowdrop gave some of its white colour to snow and was rewarded the freedom to emerge safely through the blanket of snow, every year.
Each year people smile when they see the snowdrops peeping above ground, signally the end of winter and the arrival of Spring. At this time of year during every visit to the woods, our children tiptoe through the snowdrops which line the path to our fire circle. This week our Pre School children drew the most amazing drawings of the snowdrops using chalk during their session in the woods.
Snowdrops are of course one of the earliest bulbs to flower. They have many names including Candlemas Bells, Snow piecer, and our particular favourite, Dingle dangle! The Woodland Trust’s website Nature’s Calendar produces a great fact sheet on this delicate little plant. It seemed only fitting that we celebrate the snowdrop in one of our Forest School sessions at this time of the year and Juliet’s story provided the spark of inspiration we were looking for. We shared the story with a group of excited children and then they set about making snowdrop peg doll fairies using pipe cleaners, wool and paper. Each fairy was unique. Some carried fairy dust, others had crowns. Some had wings, others had wands. But each snowdrop fairy wore a beautiful, delicate white dress. Then … well we are going to let Pearl the Snowdrop Fairy tell you what happened next.
Suddenly I am outside. I can feel the wind blowing through my hair and rustling my dress. I flutter my wings and look anxiously left and right. All my snowdrop friends are heading out on the same adventure. Angel is flying this way and that way, while Twinkle and Starlight are having a gossip about dancing. Moonlight is proving just how difficult it is to fly when it is windy and is upside down, until someone spots her predicament and turns her up the right way! We move quickly pass the buildings, through some gates and then into a wide open space. I can hear our friends the birds busy talking about where to build their nests. I interrupt, offering abit of fairy know-how.
“Don’t forget, lots of moss to keep the little ones warm.” I suggest.
This is my time of the year. All year I have been fast asleep, curled up inbetween the small snowdrop bulbs, deep under the ground. And then, just when everyone is beginning to think that the cold weather and long dark nights will never end, I popped up. Slowly at first, stretching my arms through the hard earth, before uncurling and stretching my wings. And then I’m off to help Spring arrive. It is me and all my snowdrop fairy friends, who tickle the hedgehog’s nose and stir them from their winter hibernation and give the birds a friendly nudge and whisper in their ears, nesting time. We breath on the buds and encourage them to pop open and lead the sleepy frogs back to their favourite ponds.
Although today it is dry, by the time we reach the woods, I am shivering. But no, wait, yes, there, shining like a bright white light in the gloomy woods, the Dingle-dangles. I sit down next to them, catching up on gossip, while my human friends carefully open the flowers looking for the small patches of green, where we scrapped off some colour to give to snow. There just liked we told you! And then I am off prancing through the woods, whirling and twirling, high and low towards an old tree stump.
Nearby I can see the daffodils and bluebells just beginning to poke their heads above the ground.
“Hello.” says Angel as she joins me by the tree stump.
We decide that the stump will make the perfect shelter to protect us against the cold and wet winter weather and, with the help of our human friends, we quickly build a new entrance with sticks and make a waterproof roof using the waxy leaves off the laurel bushes. And now, it is time for some acorn tea and pine cone cup cakes.
And so our adventure with Pearl the Snowdrop fairy and her friends came to an end. We went home happy that we had built them some small, waterproof shelters to keep them warm and dry while they help spring to arrive in our woodland.