Just when I thought gardening could not bring me more pleasure…insert child! Ok, maybe not ANY child, but it’s certainly true of gardening with my niece. I had a little taste of this last year when my neighbor’s little girl “helped me” with the bamboo extraction project….which elevated the experience from pure drudgery to something more as she laughed with joy as she repeatedly climbed and slipped down a pile of dirt.
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to introduce my niece to gardening. I’m not sure how much she really understood but you could see the wonder and excitement in her eyes as we gathered our tools, seed packets, and pots and started playing the dirt.
The first project was to fill her pot with dirt. After she chose her seeds she soon realized she needed a bigger pot, which was even more exiting because she got to select another pot and move more dirt!
Then she used her brownie pan as her square foot garden guide. Given the size of the seeds she was actually placing 1 or 2 seeds per slot was impossible…which really wasn’t the point…it was fun just trying ( a perfect lesson of enjoying the process over results).
With the seeds placed and the pot watered she chose the perfect spot and placed her label. Then we put away our tools and started our clean-up (of course while singing the “clean-up” song).
I can’t tell you how good it felt to introduce my niece to gardening and to show her how to plant her first seeds. The gift for me was seeing life revealed through her new eyes. Everything became magical…from picking the tools from the wonderous array of options hanging in the potting bench area, picking the seeds from the pile of colorful options in the seed box, to the amazement of just moving gravel with Aunt Cathy’s rake.
It can’t be said enough how much we can learn from children. I am so lucky to be exposed to these lessons through my nieces. When life becomes overwhelming, when work becomes stressful, when I start to “worry” about the future instead of “experiencing” the present moment – all I need to do is visit my nieces – and pay attention. If I do this with the open heart and mind of a child, I always come away with a different perspective and a renewed love of life.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
– Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki