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Sparkle Schoolhouse
FIFTY Study Page- Washington: " Follow the Sun"

June 13, 2017
FIFTY Study Page- Washington: " Follow the Sun"

Follow-The-Sun, a woman from the Spokane tribe of eastern Washington, overhears that the United States has declared war on the English - and that the English has dispatched several ships to overtake fur trading forts in the mouth of the Columbia River. This is concerning for many reasons - but she is most worried about her husband, a Canadian trader currently stationed at one of those forts. She then takes it upon herself to travel the hundreds of miles along the Columbia River to warn him - and along the way, sees some of most diverse and beautiful country in the world.

Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.


Topics for Investigation

Washington History - History of the Columbia River Exploration - History of the Fur Trade in America - Account of War of 1812 from a west coast perspective

Washington Geography - Comparison of eastern and western Washington - Map of Columbia River - Map of 1812 west coast campaign

“Follow the Sun” Study Topics - Look at the behavior of English, American and Canadian trappers before, during and after the war of 1812 - Comparison of native american tribes along the Columbia River - Wide variety of plants and animals in eastern, mountain and western regions of Washington

Topics for Reflection

From a Child Development Perspective:

In this story, your child might learn that:

  • Setting our sights on pleasant thoughts can help us to endure times of discomfort. Follow the Sun joyfully thought of the wedding as she did her work at tanning and felt her loneliness after Jaco left to build another fort for the Pacific Fur company.

  • When we spend enough time in the natural world, we get to know it so well that it becomes like an old friend and a place to return to again and again for guidance and comfort. When it was time for Follow the Sun to set out to find her husband and warn him of the British, she knew the Columbia River like a dear friend. It was central to her life and she could navigate its twists and turns, just like we sometimes must with family and friends.

  • When we set our sights to accomplish something, there are invisible forces that support us. Determination can translate into strength. When Follow the Sun announced that she would arrive at her destination in 10 days, traveling the perilous journey that others had not made in less than 20 days, she was confident that she could not only make it but that she would make it safely. She was empowered and protected by her intention and her strong commitment.

  • There are times when we have to listen to the voice that tells us what must be done, even if there are no guarantees or assurances of what will meet us at the other end of our path.

  • Follow the Sun Morning … realized that yes - she did know what she was doing as far as the river was concerned - but no, she did not really know what she would do once she arrived. What if Jaco wasn’t there? Would she try to tell the others anyway? Would they believe her?

  • The world is truly beautiful. There is so much stunning beauty to marvel at. Be sure to keep your eyes open to both the small and large miracles that our beautiful planet. Follow the Sun was both comforted and inspired by the beauty of the Cascades, mountains that were so tall and elegant, and of the " bright blue water of the Big River cutting through the wide open range of orange grass, dusty green sage and cliffs of white rock."

  • Knowing that you are needed can also give you the strength to press on. Follow the Sun had to endure tremendous adversity as she traveled to her husband-to-be, but knowing that her efforts were required to warn him of the British plan to take the fort give her enduring strength.

  • Even competitors can become stronger when they work together. When the British and American fur trapping companies collaborated, they supported each other against the British army. Together we are stronger. Together we are safer.


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About the Authors

David Sewell McCann

Story Spinner

David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.

Meredith Markow

Sparkle Schoolhouse Head of School

Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.

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