Musings in the Rain

 My gardening work has come to a halt with the cold and the rain, so over the weekend I started a few peat pot trays indoors to satisfy my spring drive to plant and nuture. 

After a long day of work, I came home and checked on my babies.  The zinnias and beans were popping their sleepy heads out of the soft peat.  The others were still barely stirring in their seed coats.

Watching seedlings grow takes me back to the magic of childhood, when in third grade I did an experiment growing a beans in a variety of conditions.  I made a chart and wrote a paper on it, and won third prize in the school science fair.  I remember being shocked, but also sad, as my parents did not take me to the fair.  I wanted to be recognized for what I thought was ingenious work.  Instead, I got the project back with the prize tag hanging off it. 

Perhaps it was that early success that cultured my love for science. In high school I took AP science - Physiology and Microbiology.  I was in an after school group that tested the waters in the Woodstock area, checking on oxygen levels as well as bacteria.  I also surveyed trees in the area that was being prepared to be made into a state park.  I felt myself drawn to both disciplines, and decided that I wanted to be a medical illustrator.  But colleges that offered those degrees were far far away and more than I could afford as my father made it very plain that unless I was going to be a teacher or a nurse, he wasn't paying for my education. 

I ended up majoring in art at a college I could afford...the local community college and took Earth Science, Anatomy,  and Astronomy.  I got A's or in the classes, or at least a high B, and I remember one of my professors looking down at me over a beer at a party and slurring "you should major in are a natural" he studied the top button of my blouse.

Years later, after being divorced with two little children, I got my bachelors and masters in Art Education as I was tired of working three jobs to make ends meet.   In graduate school I took a few courses on integrating the sciences with art, and never thought much about it after that.

The irony of this musing is that today at our Superintendent Conference Day, my co-worker and I did a presentation on a new course called "Art and Science" where we teach botany, conservation, ecology, earth science,  chemistry, etc and match up our studies with an art project.  The study of flowers bought forth large O'Keefe influenced paintings, the water samples from bodies of water provided fascinating illustrations of monera and protista,  chemistry bought forth handmade and marlbed papers.  The trip to the cement quarry will hopefully provide fossils and Herkimer diamonds to wire wrap into jewelry. 

As I reflect about the day,  I go back to my plants and look at them once more.  The magic of life still humbles me, and I am grateful and deeply satisfied in the paths I have chosen in my teaching and art career.    I  nurture my babies, put them in the ground, and watch them grow....

Patti O Planter

and wrote a comparison


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