I love having my hands in dirt.
Something about its texture, the way it falls right through my fingertips and its vibrant, earthy smell makes me want to pause and take a deep breath.
I remember planting lima beans with my kindergarten students a few years ago on a beautiful Spring morning. Each child filled a tiny cup with soil, took a lima bean, and pushed it halfway down into the dirt. After fifteen lima beans were planted, there was soil covering the table and floor and in each one of my fingernails. I put the soon-to-be plants near the window so they would get the sunlight they needed. Each child watered their own plant. We paused and listened as the soil drank up the water. I’ve always loved this sound; it reminds me of my own body when I’m thirsty and I gulp down a huge glass of fresh, clean water.
The next morning I came in early, but forgot to check on the lima beans. I seemingly had other more important things to do, like put up the daily schedule, set up the tables, and write out the morning message. When it was time to open the door and let my students in, Ceci nearly ran me over. She was screaming with such jubilance, “Lianne! Did the lima beans grow?!! Did they GROWWW!!!!!!!???”
My mundane and repetitive everyday tasks had once again distracted me from even realizing that something very important was happening in my own classroom. A new life was emerging, and I had almost missed its very first stage.
Ceci’s excitement got me giddy and we happily skipped over to the window and saw a tiny little sprout peaking out from the bean. Ceci paused and looked at her lima bean plant; it was the first time she had seen so
mething grow. Her eyes were wide with amazement, and she had a huge smile that was pulling her cheeks apart. After this moment of pause, she started to jump up and down and yelp. She called all of her friends over and they gathered and giggled with joy.
I took a step back for a moment to appreciate how much joy these children were experiencing from just seeing a tiny little sprout. I thought, Wow, these children get it. This was one of many moments where I realized that I have become the student – and my students, the teachers.
Looking back on this experience now, I wonder if I can challenge myself to see the emergence of Spring like a child sees it.
If we open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the beginning of spring, perhaps we will be able to appreciate each new emergence as a child does, with wonder, curiosity, and excitement. As we notice plants growing, flowers blooming, new lives hatching and fresh leaves budding, maybe we will similarly feel growth, blooming, hatching, and budding within ourselves.
Being a musician, I am drawn to this quote:
“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”
We can be our own composers for the time of Spring if we so choose. If we pay attention to the statement that Spring is making, perhaps we will be able to tune into all of its instruments – even the quiet ones that so often go unnoticed.
I wrote the song, “Chirp Chirp,” to help encourage children to be sensitive to the sounds in the environment around them.
Lianne's new CD, “Breathe In” will be released on June 20th.
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