Garden Stories:Chard

Artsongs '19, Consistent Yellow Sun 8/21 - 9/2, Red Castle, Red Castle 2019

My five year old planted cherry seeds early summer, little did he know the flat already held seeds. Rabbits helped themselves to all the kale, chard, eggplants, strawflowers, and most of the sunflowers in our garden, kindly leaving us squashes, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, zinnias, and a variety of herbs. The flat he gave cherry seeds a home to had been sown with rainbow chard that I was hoping to replant in the garden. They sprouted, and he believed they were cherries. Between now and then he’s been tending them on a daily basis with water and chatter and they’ve grown; yesterday he suggested planting them in a bigger container or the garden where they’d have more space then maybe they’d grow into trees and give cherries sooner, he can tell they’ve outgrown the flat and seems to have an inkling that something’s off but hasn’t asked any questions regarding their nature. Every now and then he’ll cock his head and state how they don’t have branches or look much like trees but maybe they have to grow more. So far nobody has told him otherwise, and it makes me wonder at all the telling that children are subjected to . . . for instance, he’s claimed on his own initiative the planting and care of seeds, which he looks after without prompting from without himself, they’re his and as such he’s vested in their growth and is doing the work of tending to his little garden.
This is a fact: it is chard he’s growing, but is there value to sharing this fact with a child who is completely engaged in his chosen activity when there is equal if not greater value in how he is pouring himself out, applying himself freely, bright with the glow of sun ripened cherries imagined? I wonder whether he would continue his involvement if he knew these were not what he gave life to or would the facts he’s not asking for be counter productive to how children learn?

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