3 and 4
"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.
Most of the time we are simply not
to pay attention to the story."
A small favorite story...
When my children were little I wanted them to fall in love with how the earth will bloom so kindly in response to your care. I chose roses for the lesson. In the mail came the crisp Jackson & Perkins catalog, and I said, "choose any rose... your rose... and you will plant it... and tend it... and it will become yours..." The crisp pages of vibrant rose photos (you could swear the scent was captured right there in the paper), grew dog-earred and tattered with indecision and the back and forth of the tiny fingers; alas, the decision for the "one" rose became too much to bear for a small child, and so my heart grew to welcome "two each"... "choose two"... the plastic bags came in the mail and they were not what my children expected (what is?). The photo of the rose on the bag matched their wee heart's desires, but the stiff, barren stick jutting out of the top of the bag held such disappointment. And that is precisely where the magic began... in the moment of disappointment where, without knowing, they were a sweet whisper away from what was to begin...
The flower bed was readied with good brown soil and holes were dug (with assistance), and the seeds of anticipation were sown... each day my children visited their roses and peered longingly at the sticks, until one fine day the tiniest of buds appeared, followed by miniature unfurling leaves, and then a small tucked-in ball grew, and from there (by now I imagine you have guessed at the end of this story, for it has a happy ending...)... a rose appeared... not just "any rose"... it was "their rose" through and through. And my child and their treasured rose stood in the shimmering sunshine and simply bloomed magnificently and proudly... together...