This morning after breakfast, we suited up in rain gear and headed outside to take advantage of this sunny (albeit chilly at first) day. It poured buckets here in Napa yesterday and our garden was good and muddy from all the rain. With Michael only able to get a good day’s work of gardening in on the weekend, we need our Saturdays and Sundays to be not raining. Today was one of those days…a family day spent in the mud. Inside we have two large trays planted with seeds that are growing under a light, just waiting for their turn to be moved outside into the ground. We decided to grow them inside so that the boys could watch them grow from seed. There is something purely magical about seeing that first tiny speck of green shoot up from the black, humid soil. We all go to look at the pallet of little squares of dirt each morning to see what has changed, what has grown right in front of us.
Today, we moved a lot of barrels, pulled a lot of weeds, planted some seeds (just to appease Levi, even though we know full well it may be too early) and found a lot of critters along the way. Under one patch of soil, where a cement stepping stone once was, we discovered a whole lot of worms and salamanders. Calvin is enamored with bugs (“bubs”) and can identify a worm, butterfly, ladybug, spider, caterpillar and ant (I’m not bragging, but I sure do think it’s impressive of his little brain). He loves the worms (“woms”) and approaches one with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. Levi understands that the chickens love to eat worms, so sometimes he like to give them to the ladies. Other days, he chooses to put them back in the soil so that they can “find the rest of their family underground.”
As I was working today and watching the boys dig in the dirt, I thought about the age old analogy between children and plants. How they start from a seed and when given the proper nutrients, a healthy environment, and tender loving care, they can grow and flourish to their utmost capacity. I thought about how Levi used to play in this garden when he was so small and how he has now grown to care for it himself. Now he understands that this is where we grow our food and that food comes from the Earth, that it grows from a tiny seed even. I see how in tune he is with the ground beneath him and how he is learning from it, about it. He knows from experience that there is a cycle of life that he is a part of and contributes to. He witnesses the hard work it takes to build a garden and to care for it and he has reverence for this space of ours. It really continues to be a learning experience for us as a family…we are all being taught by this Earth in so many profound and often surprising ways.