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  • Last modified 26 days ago (March 28, 2018)

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Another Day in the Country

Looks like dirt to me

© Another Day in the Country

The other morning in fourth grade, while we were waiting for class to officially begin, after the announcements over the intercom, after the pledge of allegiance, one of the “floating” teachers came in to make an announcement.

“I’m really angry,” she said as an introduction.

Well, that got our attention, even though she didn’t really look all that mad. She’s such a sweet teacher that she really has to ratchet up the emotions to look distressed, disgusted, put out, mad, or really angry.

“There were footprints all over the school garden where we planted the bulbs a few weeks ago,” she went on. “There’s a path through the garden, so there’s no reason to be running over the flower beds.”

I could see the kids’ reactions as they were wondering if she thought they were the culprits. Heads begin to shake horizontally, side to side.

“Nope, it wasn’t them,” was the collective message.

She wasn’t finished.

“Those bulbs will be coming up any day now that spring is approaching,” she said, “and stepping on them can break off their tender shoots and they will never be able to bloom.”

The classroom was very, very silent.

“So, if at recess a ball goes into the garden, WALK ON THE PATH.”

One last stern look at all the little heads nodding in agreement and she was gone.

Well, I needed to make some kind of transition into art.

“So what kind of bulbs did you plant?” I asked the class.

They didn’t know. They couldn’t remember.

“Were they tulips? You do know what tulips are?”

“Not really,” one of the boys in the front row said with a puzzled look on his face. They described the bulbs to me the best they could. I drew pictures on the board of the difference between tulip and daffodil bulbs. They voted “tulips.” So now we wait to see what comes up.

I’ve been thinking that bulbs planted in the ground are a little like our beliefs. They aren’t always apparent. Sometimes those notions have been there for a long time and we just see them now and then in the spring; but their roots are deep and they come up year after year. Sometimes like rhizomes that have already reverted, changed color even, into something more primitive, some feeling buried in our family tree that we think is just the way things are and should always be, surely!

Surprise! Spring is a coming and it’s time to dig up the garden, pull out the weeds, and plant new seed.

“For sure this spring, I’m teaching the kids the difference between tulips and daffodils, so they’ll know what they are walking over in the garden,” I vowed.

I saw the first daffodils blooming on the east side of the house. There will be more coming soon and they’ll be going to class with me. It’s quite a challenge to draw things from real life.

Have you ever tried to draw a daffodil? It’s not as easy as you may think. If you should be so lucky as to come to our annual Centre Art Show in May, I’m betting you’ll see some wonderful renditions.

You know it is our job to teach our kids, the generations within our reach, about nature and our responsibility toward it, about gardens and boundaries. We want these little kids to recognize and be able to name the trees, the birds, and the beliefs that we hold sacred. And we should be able to back those notions that we plant in their little garden minds with solid facts and truth.

Who is going to think it’s important besides us? It’s our job! I’m assuming there aren’t a lot of 20-year-olds reading my column, but if I’m wrong, it’s never too early to start!

Speaking of 20-year-olds, I picked up a book at the library the other day called “The Financial Diet” by Chelsea Fagan. I discovered it was aimed at millennials and not retirees, but I kept reading. I wish I’d known this stuff about investing when I was younger.

“Too late for me,” I mumbled.

Then I hit gold. One of the chapters was on cooking at home. Can you believe it? And there were recipes — including a simple recipe for key lime pie that turned out to be a real treat on another day in the country.

Last modified March 28, 2018

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