Sharing the Joy of Plants

Last week we invited 32 children from the Montessori Summer program to visit us at the store for an hour of plant-based activities including drawing a Mullein plant (and marveling over its fuzzy leaves, magnificent yellow candelabra of flowers and its soil laden roots), making lip balm (choice of either Peppermint/Cocoa or Tangerine Creamsicle ), tasting some raw cocoa butter and being attentive to the smells of plants I harvested form my garden (they ranged from lemony to rose to minty to “stinky”).

I loved their enthusiasm, their energy and how they connected the bits of my sharing to what grows in their own yards. It was marvelous to hear them say “Yes, that grows at MY house!” because it shows an awareness of nature. Children connecting to nature has become an issue in recent years, most notably for the disappearance of that connection.

Recently, I read a book titled The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, published in the U.K. in 2017. Mr. Macfarlane became concerned when the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary dropped 40 words concerning nature such as acorn, heron, dandelion, willow and fern. These were replaced with attachment, blog, cut-and-paste and voicemail. This news was greeted with dismay by many in early childhood education as it demonstrated the beginning disconnect between nature and childhood.

He and Jackie responded by writing a “…’spell book’ that would conjure back twenty of these lost words and the beings they named……” The illustrations are richly colored, and the words evoke the wild beauty and mystery of its subjects. I bought a copy for myself and have been re-reading the spells as I come across the subjects in my walks. Read his spell for Ivy and see if it evokes an aspect of Ivy’s magic.

                              Ivy

                            I am ivy, real high-flyer.

                                                        Via bark and stone I scale tree and spire.

                                                          You call me ground-cover; I say sky-wire.

 

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