On the first fine weekend in several weeks I've volunteered to take the children's session at our Quaker Meeting. Arriving by bike, enjoying the spring morning, I look around for a theme that would let us get out of the small room where we had held all our winter sessions.
Aha! A book about the environment which refers to the natural world as a garden – we could go to the Cathedral Gardens on Church Hill, just across the road.
Three children arrive with their parents. We read the story and the children respond to the colourful pictures of birds and trees, the sadness when habitat is lost to urban sprawl and the joy of the child who finds a seed and helps it to flourish.
Then we cross the road (carefully) and spend the next half hour running around the maze of paths on the hill, looking at flowers and trees, reading the plaques that explain the War Memorial and the site of Bishop Selwyn's first tent church in 1841. We are all enjoying the fine morning and the freedom.
The children's ability to notice different things: 'A blackbird flew through that bush!' 'Are there more history plaques?' focussed my mind on new aspects of the garden which I walk through often: the texture of the stone steps, the age of the redwood tree which was planted in 1890.
I'm put in mind of the concept of 'savouring' – the ability to pay attention and enjoy the moment in all its aspects. More on this next time.