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June started out with members of my guild doing several demos . Two days of the demos were for old McDonald’s Farm. We were set up at the farmers Museum at the fairgrounds and demonstrated the process of making clothing from wool and other fibers, to fourth-grade classes from area schools. I volunteered to participate on Friday and noticed many of the students did not know where a lot of fibers come from or how garmets are made. Fortunately we had raw wool, washed wool, hand cards, spinning wheels and other equipment to show the students how this was done from a fleece.

The next demo was for Farm/ city day and quite a few members of the guild participated. Remembering that many of the children did not understand where silk came from or what cocoons were, I took several cocoons and preserved silk moths from a previous project. Another took flax from from which linen is made. Another took felted projects. Another took a weaving project and do on. Some of the students from the previous demos came and brought along their families. They wanted to know more about the things that we had talked about.

Whenever we do these demos I am amazed and saddened at the same time, over how little people know about simple things. How food is grown, how clothes are made, and other things everyone should if for no other reason than to be grateful for what they have. Sharing this knowledge with the others is the main reason we do the demos and just when we get tired of ‘one more demo’, we are reminded that what we do is important for our community.

A couple of weeks later I was visiting a friend whose house borders a schoolyard. We were watching children playing and skipping in the schoolyard, enjoying the warm weather. There was only one more week of school left and the students were spending more time outdoors than they normally would have.

Watching them I wondered … when school is out for summer vacation, what will they learn? Will they learn about nature? Will they learn what it’s like to be a child, playing outdoors, swimming, riding their bikes, playing with friends, enjoying the sunshine? Or will they sit in front of glowing monitors and screens?

Last week was my six-year-old grandson’s first week of summer vacation. On one of the days I took him up to the monastery to help me water some of the flowerbeds. "Granmma" he asked "are all these flowers yours?" I explained to him that the flowers belong to the community of the monastery but that in a way the flowers belong to all who enjoy them, and that I was just the person responsible for seeing that they were cared for.

After watering one flower bed we moved to another. It was a hot day with little shade and I expected him to complain about being hot and the work being hard. But instead he looked at me with his big blue eyes and said "gramma you are so lucky". Why is that I asked? He answered, "you get to care for all these beautiful flowers".

I was reminded that as we teach our children, our children also teach us.

And I remembered a friend’s advice the every child should learn how to be a gardener. A gardener learns to love the sounds of nature, learns that there is a season for everything, learns to respect all growing things, learns patience, and learns about responsibility.

And I remembered a link a friend sent me to the song, Teach The Children Well by
Crosby Stills and Nash. I listen to it often.

My plan for my grandchildren this summer is to help them learn how to be gardeners, how to run and play, how to get dirty, how to make ice cream floats, how to have a ball, take long naps, listen to the nature’s music, watch the sky, sun and clouds by day, stars at night, watch for fireflies, listen to the frogs peeping. And of course, how to be grateful for who we are and what we have.

Photos are of one of the demos, one of the flower beds at the monastery, and my grandson helping me collect river water for natural dye projects.

Someone asked where I live:

Where I live

Where sacred darkness

embraces the light
in great silence

Where the mist gives way
to the sun at dawn
as I dance in prayer

Where gentle rain falls
on seeds planted
coaxing them to emerge

Where work is play
and play is work
both are sacred

Where the bell ringing
reminds me to pause
and be still

Where I am alone
in community
with others

Where minds, bodies,
and souls are fed
while birds sing

Where all
Flourish
Thrive
Bloom
Grow

Where the lengthening shadows
brings a friend
with spirit in hand

Where day gives way to night
lighting lamps within
before rest in great silence.

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