As I greet the children at the garden gate, I notice the changes since I last met with them. Over the months they have grown a little taller. Their feet are a little bigger. They have new experiences to share. Each one makes sure that I know they are a little older since the last time they were in the gan.
As they enter the gate, they begin to notice changes in the garden. After the late spring planting and a summer of sun, the gan is full of verdant life.
Abundance. Blessings. Sweetness.
Upon entering, I challenge them with a task, a question, "what is visiting the flowers today?"
This simple provocation sets them on a path of exploration in the garden.
The children notice that the yellow flowers attract bees. They use hand lenses to look at the pollen.
Finger puppets allow the children to role play as they visit flowers to drink nectar and collect pollen.
One of the stations has a honeycomb available for discovery. The children have been dipping apples in honey to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. This station provides an opportunity for deeper understanding of where honey comes from. They can touch the wax comb and see the octagonal cells.
The children participate in a honey taste test. They are able to see the different colors of honey. They sample each type and discover that each one has a different flavor. Each child voted for his/her favorite type of honey. The choices included, White Clover, Eucalyptus, Thistle Flower, Orange Blossom, and Buckwheat. The 3's cluster had a tie vote between the Eucalyptus and the Buckwheat. The Pre K group voted the Buckwheat honey as their favorite.
At Rosh Hashanah we celebrate change. The changing of the year. We embrace it, we wish for it, we are inspired by it. But, amidst all of this attention to change, the garden reminds me that change is tempered by consistency, or cycles if you will. The cycle of a blooming plant requires the visit of a bee. The changes in the gan are held consistent by the cycles of the seasons. And even though we celebrate the changing of time each Rosh Hashanah, we keep consistent ritual of dipping apples in honey. A ritual that relies on the consistency of cycles.
Shanah Tovah, until next year.