The cell packs make crinkle sounds. I lift a pansy from its little space and loosen the root-bound ball. I open a new home with my trowel in the potted earth, and set her there, bringing soil up around her shoulders, pressing gently down. I soak her with well water; she drinks deep.
Soon, a mass of color in a mass of potter's clay. Now-hollow cell packs gone topsy-turvy across the potting bench. I putter, I hum, and I plant, pot after pot in the shed shade.
It's more than pretty flowers. It's seed, broken loose with life and promise, earth and water and sun bringing it full-round. A revolution that captures the heart and mind, just to see it happen right there before you, like that. My Grandma knew. My Mama does, too.
And here am I, next in line, growing food, growing beauty, growing.
I had to make sure and buy some orange flowers for him to plant, orange being his favorite color and all. Some blue flowers, too, for the boy who likes blue. The boy who likes green didn't claim any flowers as his own. He preferred to just stroll by the garden now and then to check on the progress and comment on the raised beds, or shower a few plants with the watering can.
They glean knowledge in different ways, these three guys. I'm learning to keep a look-out for the moments when interest is wide, and minds are curious, then I drop into them what I know. This may satisfy entirely, or it may be the spark that sends them searching for more. Just yesterday, I found myself giving the definition of 'comatose' to two different boys at two different times (vocabulary via Calvin & Hobbes, anyone?). And we've all understood fog in a better way since last weekend's camping trip when we woke one morning to find everything enveloped in it, and Daddy told us why and how.
One boy sits at my computer often these days, writing a chapter book. We all just expect him to ask correct spellings every few minutes, because that's his way. Correct spelling rocketed to the top of his priority list this summer, and he's making great strides. I know because when I ask him to 'give it a shot' first before I rattle off the letters, he often gets it right on his own.
We didn't set out to master spelling this summer. Writing a chapter book wasn't planned. 'Screen play' was not penciled by Mama into a nice little organized slot, neither was 'fog', nor was 'birds of prey'. We had no idea we would be reading multiple newpaper articles written by people with names like Jill E. Bean (oh, the mind of a thirteen year old!). But, all this is happening. Happening in an open, natural way.
As I begin to think of the learning season coming up this fall and winter, I'm reminding myself of the value of this learning way.
Excerpt from the chapter book, written by the eight-year-old boy: