Tuesday Teatime: Sunflower Tea
I hesitated to send this tea time report because I sent one last fall and this one happened before we officially began school. Still, when I heard my little one speak with the depth that only little ones can, I felt moved to share this experience.
Living at an altitude of a little over 7400 ft., our growing season is pretty short. Thus, planting Mammoth Sunflower seeds the second week of June, after the last frost, was pretty wishful thinking. This circumstance, of course, did not diminish the delight and enthusiasm of my two year old son as he pushed each seed into the soft dirt.
We dutifully watered every day and enjoyed the thrill of watching the seedlings emerge. Eventually they grew into pretty sturdy stalks and I watched with pleasure as the plants began to reach above my son’s head. He stood amazed, as day after day they gained inches and towered high above him.
As the end of August approached, I wondered if all our watering and tending time was in vain. Would they ever bloom? Finally, on the last day of August (and Julian’s third birthday), the miracle occurred. We awoke to find several buds ready to open and by the end of the afternoon three flowers were blooming. Three! What a birthday gift! Surely this occassion demanded a celebration with a tea party in the sunflower garden. We hastily gathered some left over birthday cake, lemonade and cups. I even looked up some “sunflower poems” on the internet which my older son and I took turns reading. It was the first of many garden tea parties in the sunflower house.
I had hoped the experience would end with all the flowers going to seed; with families of birds enjoying the harvest. Jack Frost, however, had other plans. He came too soon to allow the birds this blessing and the flowers are all drooping miserably in the back yard. The blessing did come however in the remarkable way little children seem to express things.
Today, as we sat on the floor sipping magic tea from miniature tea cups, Julian sat gazing out the window at the once glorious garden. Then, in the sweetest voice imaginable, he said, ” We” (his replacement word for our), “We sunflowers are bending their heads down for their nap in autumn time”. A brief pause ensued and then, in the spirit of a Dostoyevsky winter, he said softly, “The sun can’t cheer them up anymore.”
Poetry lesson, science discovery, nature encounter, language development? All learning is better with tea time!