My contribution for Gardening Gone Wild’s August photo contest is above. David Perry, who is the judge this month, told us to get down on our knees while shooting. For the past two years, David has been a huge influence on my photography. I regularly read his blog, and I consider him a good friend. He is a generous teacher, and I want to share one paragraph he wrote about this month’s assignment:
“Watch any great preschool teacher and you will see someone who spends much of the day on her/his knees. Kids don’t respond well to adults that tower over them and talk down to them. They respond to grown-ups who are willing to come down to their level, meet them eye-to-eye. And strangely enough, the world down there at kid level looks vastly different from the grown-up world above. You want to understand kids and get along with them, you need to get down there where they can relate to you. It’s like that with a garden too. Too many of us take the majority of our pictures from standing height, which really limits both our visual understanding of a garden and the sense of intimacy we can capture.”
Since my life, for the last twenty years, has been all about kids, I understand what he means. This morning, I went to the first school mass of the year with my youngest. Although she is quickly growing up (she is a Big Chum after all), as she filed in with her classmates, her eyes still sought me while she held her Little Chum’s hand.
With four children (one grown, and three at home), my days are filled with parental duties like carpool, laundry, cooking, homeroom mom, etc. However, when my life is over, upon review, I believe that those times when I held my babies’ hands, and led them into the garden after a summer rain, taking the time to point out an interesting insect, or the raindrops on the blooms, will be the ones they remember. I hope so.
To whomever wins this month’s prize, congratulations. While I was out kneeling in the grass, time stood still, and these reflections about my children and all the other children of the world, came to me. For that, I already feel like a winner.