Through the Eyes of a Child
Today I looked through a book about gardening with children. As I leafed through the pages, up popped bits of memories of my child playing in the backyard. It occurred to me how much I miss having her around the garden. Seeing it through my child’s eyes gave it a magical touch. Simple things brought her pleasure; for example, when she went down a short little path made of concrete rounds, she made a giggly game of hopping from one round to the next.
She loved helping me plant seeds. I gave her big seeds, such as peas and nasturtiums so her little fingers could easily hold them. She plopped each one into the small holes we poked into the soil with a stick. Then she would water them with her child-size watering can. I miss seeing the surprise in her eyes when the baby plants poked through the soil. When she helped me water, she sometimes asked how much longer until she could eat the vegetables or pick the flowers.
She didn’t care what the flowers were; if they were pretty and she could pick them, she adored them. Once I photographed her in the midst of acres and acres of tulip fields in the Skagit Valley of Washington State. I instructed her not to pick the tulips, so she reached down on the side of the road, where we had parked, picked a dandelion, and carried it around. In the photo, she is standing by rows of red tulips as she holds a bright yellow dandelion beneath her nose. For her, the weed flower was just as magical as the fields surrounding her, and probably more so, because she could hold this one in her tiny hands.
With all the empty, open pea pods scattered around her play area, I could imagine the pod people had invaded earth and snatched many unsuspecting bodies. But it was from my daughter. She grazed in the garden, picking every pod she could reach and discarding the empty shells wherever she went. I planted two pea patches—one for her and another one I hoped she wouldn’t find. I wanted to eat fresh peas too!
I am going to purchase that book, even though my own child is grown. I want to remember the simple pleasures of my garden; when I forget, I will pick up the book and look through the pages that remind me to see with child-like eyes. I wish to experience simple pleasure in picking a handful of pea pods, opening them up so I can suck out all the little peas, and scattering the empties wherever I may be. Even better, I’ll hop down a pretentious path of flagstone, laughing for the complete joy each jump brings. What great practice, if I am blessed with grandchildren—viewing the world through the eyes of a child and the vision belongs to me.