It’s official. The holiday season has arrived at the Seed. On Monday we posted flyers for the Tanner Chapel food drive and that same afternoon lead staff met to select our theme for this year’s Celebration of the Winter Solstice, to be held on December 19. Classes are gathering ingredients for next week’s all-school Thanksgiving feast. The kindergarteners and Preschool 2.5/3s made a huge painting of a fall tree this week, which will be enhanced by all our families in the coming days. Already anticipation is in the air.
It’s a season when it seems important to stay close to the earth, to stay grounded. I do this each day by inviting the morning in, first by walking, either along the canal or in the neighborhood, depending on the time of sunrise. After walking, I like to open the patio door to let cool morning air filter in from our back yard. Both of these practices offer a connection between my inner and outer world. The immediate outer world at home is our garden, which I have to say is thriving. I’m not sure if it’s the seeds from the 3rd/4th graders or if our soil has finally gotten to a point where it’s loaded with nutrients; whatever it is, a major crop of vegetables is on its way. The garden is a part of my life that is incredibly grounding. Each time my hands touch the soil, it feels like the earth is receiving and then transforming all of my fears, responsibilities, stresses and self-doubts. It’s a form of unconditional love.
Yesterday I walked around the school and photographed gardens. Some are thriving, while others have yet to pop up through the soil. Composted Halloween pumpkins have become green beds of luscious leaves. Red radishes, close to fruition, await preschool eaters. As I’ve spent time in garden spaces with a few classes this week, it’s been quite an experience to witness such enthusiasm for watering. One child stayed with it for nearly a half hour, flooding sections and even coming up with a small canal system to water more than one at a time. It made me think that there’s much more to gardening than the food.
Last night in class my yoga teacher said, “We don’t do the practice for ourselves. We do it for what it creates.” When I heard these words, I thought of the Seed and especially the gardens. We do our work because we love it. We also know that its impact is and will continue to be far reaching. When we teach children to grow gardens, we are teaching them about healthy food, caring for and respecting the earth, and showing them that, even at a young age, they can nurture something. Gardens depend on us to thrive and, in return, foster a sense of responsibility. As humans it’s a way we can stay grounded in ourselves, and at the same time heal both our planet and our future.