I remember walking into the back yard when I was four and finding my dad there, toiling away in the heat of the sun, birds and bees abuzz 'round the flowers. I sat and watched through a small window of the dollhouse he made for me and my two sisters and wondered if he'd involve me in his days work.
He prepared a mix of sand, soil, peat, and composted manure in a wheelbarrow; a recipe for gardeners. He turned the soil on the ground and added his mixture down rows and rows of garden beds that he would soon plant seeds in.
He put up wooden stakes, made wire trellises and interwove the long beans up towards the sky, giving the vegetable garden a vertical life.
He rustled about in his box of seeds and pulled out sunflower seeds. Knowing I was watching him, he asked if I wanted to plant them. I hurried to be by his side and take direction in the proper technique of planting. One by one I planted the seeds until my row was completed.
As he watered them in, I ran back inside, covered with dirt and sweat, and reported to my mom the fun I had outside. Days later, all the seedlings emerged. Months later the sunflowers, in all their golden glory, were open-faced to the sun, bathing in the light. Bees were everywhere! Finally, the day came when the sunflowers were plump enough to harvest. Mom baked them in the oven with a shake of salt and dad said, "This is your work. You planted 10 seeds and now you're eating hundreds of them!"
To this day, I grow vegetables from seeds, study plants, practice organic horticulture, and help others to do likewise. I thank my dad for helping me evolve in this Universe, from a child with only fun and mischief in mind, to an adult with an appreciation for life and the environment that surrounds me.