When a plant store isn’t just a plant store

A few days ago, I had to take the two boys with me to the nursery to pick up some flowers.   It’s the kind of excursion that always goes faster when I’m alone, and don’t have to prevent the boys from peering too closely at cacti or sticking their faces right smack into the hydrangeas (they’ve learned from me that flowers, at least some of them, smell very nice, and they apply that knowledge both indiscriminately and  enthusiastically).

As I picked out my annuals, the boys were captivated by the nursery’s little gravel paths winding here and there among the flowers and the plants and trees.  “Look, Luke!   A maze!” exclaimed Matthew. “Let’s go explore!”   They scampered happily about, exploring the paths, and for a moment, I could see it all through their eyes.  It wasn’t merely a store that sold plants.  It was an enchanted garden, a maze, a place with hidden surprises around every corner.  It was like something in a fairytale or a picture book: there might be rabbits living under the roses, or a gnome making a home in the arms of the ferns.   And their delight was palpable — and, for a moment, wonderfully contagious.

We adults lose that imagination, somewhere along the line.  We lose the ability to  look at the world and see magic.

And that’s why we need to spend time with kids.  They teach us what we used to know.

Have you entered the book giveaway?  There’s still time!

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