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The Wonder Basket

Ms. Fernybunch carries a basket on her rambles around the countryside. Inside dwell permanent contents - a small pair of binoculars, notebook, pencil, a few field guides for identifying, and several jars and bags for collecting.

As she rambles, she collects. A bit of fungus here, a tiny beetle there. An edible plant here, a small feather there. As a student of nature, careful steps must be taken to carve out time to look, listen and ponder.

She thinks of this basket almost as a traveling museum; the please touch, feel, taste and smell museum. Ms. Fernybunch has noticed that children are often told not to touch and are denied a deeper examination. The basket is a sort of tool that she sees as vital in the awakening of a sympathetic child to the world they live in.

This basket is an esteemed object by the children. It is sitting on the table to greet them in the morning. Quick goodbyes and hugs are offered as they run to the large wooden table to get a closer peek inside.

‘Did you find this on your ramble?” Cate softly asked.

“Oh yes, in the Wild Wood”.

“I want to rumble”, James firmly announced.

“It’s ramble, not rumble. I do not rumble on my ramble, I might not be able to discover anything, and it would scare away the animals.” This comment generated serious looks all around and a few smiles.

“ l like to rumble” James commented with pride

There was a distinct and dangerous difference in these two words and she needed to be sure that the children understood the meaning of the latter and that rambling was a better choice for their long stretches of walking in the countryside.

Rumbling was a proper description of what her young students did, especially the boys that tumbled around together like a litter of puppies. They required rumbling and needed it, but it was not her favorite part of play. She held her breath and squinched her eyes as they tumbled on the ground, faces in the grass. Peals of laughter and grunts of victory sounded from the dog pile and usually, smiling faces emerged.


Rambling… both action words and words of play-both had an important place in the country school.

“Ok children, let’s go for a ramble…which means James, a slow walk where we look, listen and ponder.”

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