Notes from the Readership
Who Shapes Whom
By Coriander Woodruff
When I was 5 years old at the Faerie High Tea they had the kids raise a stone. One of the faeries laid on the ground they tied a ribbon around him and then we pulled him up. I had prepared for this moment my entire short life! I completely believed in the strength of my fellow Kids’ Tribe to raise this metaphorical stone. I was extremely disappointed when he did not hold himself completely still allowing us to do the work and instead just stood up slowly as we pulled. But still, I thought, we had done most of the work.
When I was 8, Orren Whiddon had all of the kids gather at Beltaine to pull our very own, smaller, but real stone. He showed us the ropes, and lift bars, the kid-size rollers, and his tin of tobacco that he sat on the stone and he said he would pay us $5 if we did not let the tin fall off for the entire pull. He explained that this stone was a seed planted so it could grow into a great big stone and continue our circle. We raised it, and the circle did grow.
When I was 13, someone asked me if I was going to work on one of the rollers for the adult pull since I had been so enthusiastic about rollers with the Seed Stone. I said, “Yes, of course!” When I saw how much larger the rollers were, I felt apprehensive and I was reconsidering when I overheard one of the adults saying he did not think I had the mass to do the job. Such things should be spoken with care around small determined children. There was not a force on earth that could have stopped me once I was told I could not.
When I was 18, I was made an official Crew Leader. Mike McConnell gathered everyone at the stone we were going to move that night, then he talked about the long hard day he had and all of the responsibilities he had. He decided that what he really needed was a nap and that I could handle the night pull. The night pull has always been my favorite since I was a kid, it’s timeless in the dark where the whole world shifts to center around the stone. We are gathered around it as a tribe participating in ceremony together. That night was no exception, as the torches flared, and the drums beat and we worked as one force to move the stone.
This year I am 24 and I lead the Seed stone pull like I have since I was a teen. I let some of the older kids take on more responsibility just like I was given when I was 12. When I see the Seed Stone pull happen I don’t see something “fun” and “cute” for the adults to watch. I see the sacred passing on of knowledge to the next generation. I see kids learning how they can work as a team to achieve something impossible on their own. I see children working on the rollers learning to communicate and look out for each other’s safety.
The greatest honor for me is that I have been entrusted to teach the children our ways, that their parents trust me with their safety and I get to be a part of their magic. When they look at the hundreds of pounds of stone that they moved and raised, I get to see in their eyes the same feeling I had when I moved a stone for the first time at age 5. Knowing that I could trust my tribe to achieve something bigger than any of us could do on our own.