Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunday's toad stool

Yesterday before our church service began, a small boy, I know from teaching the children's religious ed. classes, wandered around outside waiting for a friend to arrive. It was a beautiful late summer morning and the grass was lush and still wet with dew. This young friend of mine sat on the front steps with a long face. I asked him, "How are you this morning?" to which he responded by shrugging his shoulders.
So I sat down next to him and asked him if he believed in Gnomes? He looked at me sharply and quickly returned the question,
"Do you?"
"Of course." I said, a matter of factly because of course, I do.
"I've never seen one." he said
"Neither have I."
"Oh." he smiled at me. Then I asked him if he would like to see where the Gnome minister stills when she leads the gnome church service? (As I had made my way up the street earlier that morning I had noticed a lone toad stool standing in the grass aside our building.) I lead him to it and we both stood over it looking down upon it with admiration.
"When do you think the gnome's service starts?" he asked me.
"Probably around the same time ours does." was the best answer I had to this question I didn't expect.
"Well," he said, "we should probably get inside because I don't think the gnomes will come around if we are here and I don't want any of them to miss their service."
We held hands while we walked into the church; before we turned the corner he looked back over his shoulder at the mushroom. "They're arriving!" he whispered to me and before I could look for myself he tugged me along to the front steps.
Once inside the boy's father greeted us and asked,
"What have you two been up to?"
"We were looking at a Gnome stool Dad, Jennifer said some people call them 'toad' stools, I think those people need glasses."
"Oh." his father looked at me with curiosity.
For a moment I thought to myself, "Had he truly seen a gnome atop the mushroom?"
And in the next moment I knew the answer,"Of course he did."
Perhaps I need new glasses?

"How often is the soul of man, especially that of the child, deprived because one does not put him in contact with nature.
There is no description, no image in any book, that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving. The wood reveals that it is not only the trees that exist, but a whole interrelated collection of lives. And this earth, this climate, this cosmic power are necessary for the development of all these lives. The myriad lives around the trees, the majesty, the variety are things one must hunt for, and which no one can bring into the school
."
~Maria Montessori

2 comments:

plaidshoes said...

That is so wonderful. One of the best parts of the trip we were just on, is that the kids spent so much time outside in a completely different natural setting then the one surrounding our home.

writinggb said...

Delightful story! Yes, I wish we made more of an effort to allow our students time outside. My son constantly laments his school policy of not going outside in the rain.

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