Mud Social Club

The week just past included International Mud Day, so this post will be a good news/bad news mud report. Which would you like first?

Mud-puddling butterflies fascinate me. These were crescentspots, but I've seen sulfurs, blues, and even swallowtails hang out at a puddle slurping up salts, amino acids, and nutrients from rotting plants, dung, and carrion. There are still mud-puddles around the lake from the May flooding, and the crawdads are building castles.

Blues in Shenandoah Nat. Park, July 2012

Common whitetail enjoying the mud today
Crawdad construction
Mud Day is when young children and their teachers celebrate nature, outdoors, and mess by getting really muddy. As an art teacher and informal nature educator for young children, I am totally in favor of gooey tactile experiences. Once a year is not nearly enough. On the other hand, getting totally covered in mud lacks appeal:

  • Many's the time I put a certain mud-covered boy into my minivan after rainy soccer games.
  • Wading in the mud-bottom Willow Creek soutwest of Pierce, Nebraska was a Sixties childhood joy.
  • Washing red Oklahoma mud out of little boys' socks was hopeless. Little boys find mud and fall into duck ponds often all on their own.
  • Clay should be  a frequent part of every kid's school experience. It can be integrated into every subject AND it washes out.
  • "Helping" the younger kids dig a foxhole by turning on the garden hose can really add tension to neighborhood relations.
  • Papier mache goop is as good as mud for the tactile experience.
  • Mud-painting the Charles and Ray Eames-style playhouse constructed by my father resulted in the most furious I EVER saw my mom. I'm still in therapy!
  • Grownups should read The Piggy in the Puddle to kids as often as possible.

See the piggy,

See the puddle,
See the muddy little puddle.
See the piggy in the middle
Of the muddy little puddle. 

© 2014-2015 Nancy L. Ruder

1 comment:

Debra said...

When my son was in kindergarten he and his friends all played with the mud and completely ignored the expensive equipment and toys. It was pretty funny watching them.