Get Your Hands Dirty


Hands-on learning at Vacation Garden School

Kids + dirt = fun. I just spent a week with twenty-two lovely, creative, energetic kids at our Vacation Garden School.  We sang songs. We learned about the water cycle. We acted out the parable of the sower. We went on a scavenger hunt at the Belmont Farmers Market. But far and away, the most popular activity was digging in the dirt.

The kids would have spent all week digging if we’d let them. They made mud pies. They discovered rolly-pollies and centipedes. They planted watermelon seeds, walnuts, and all sorts of other stuff. They fertilized the flowers and the corn growing outside our church with chicken poop.

Here’s what struck me: The more mud, the more peace. A certain joyful calm came over the children when they were physically connected to the soil.   There was something just “right” about the work they were about. For a moment in their very scheduled, very urbanized and technology-framed lives, they could breathe deeply and sense a physical and emotional connectedness unlike others.

One of the songs we sang every morning summarizes this ancient, sacred truth really nicely. Here’s a verse from “The Garden Song” (also known as “Inch by Inch”), by David Mallett:

Grain for grain, sun and rain

Find my way in nature’s chain

To my body and my brain

To the music from the land.

Inch by inch, row by row

Someone bless these seeds I sow

Someone warm them from below

‘Til the rain comes tumbling down


About amymccreath

I'm a pastor and mother who loves to make connections between people, between ideas, and between stuff we label "sacred" and "secular." I aspire to be like a Cedar of Lebanon in the midst of the changes and chances of life, but like most folks, generally find that I can really only navigate the tumult hand in hand with others. Good coffee helps, too.
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One Response to Get Your Hands Dirty

  1. Brad says:

    Ever since I started a garden I’ve found it makes me feel like Jesus. Not in some omnipotent ‘I am the son of god, marvel at my work!’ but more of the lessons. Patience, accepting and actually delighting in imperfection and celebrating the wonder of surprise.

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