Once in my classroom in California I was given a special needs student for mainstreaming. He was brilliant in math, and very quiet. He used to follow me around when all the rest of the kids were on the playground and would be waiting for me each morning when I arrived. Conversation was not his way, but he sure was an observer!
One day, towards the end of a particularly stressful week, I brought in a long sprig of Cleveland Sage. I thought it might help me by lifting my spirits if I kept it near to inhale its heady aroma. Placing it onto my desk my little friend spoke… “Teacher, what’s that?”
I told him it was Cleveland Sage from my garden at home and that I loved to smell its fragrance because it made me smile. I demonstrated the action and its effect for him.
“Can I smell it?” he asked.
“Sure!” I said, and handed it over to him.
He told me he liked it and I asked him if he would like to keep it in his pocket so he could enjoy it for the rest of the day. He nodded his head and stuck it in his pocket. Many times during the day I observed him take it out to give it a sniff. Each time it produced a smile for him just as it had for me.
It was a beginning. A way for me to see into the depths he kept locked into that quiet little face.
For the rest of that year I would bring in special things from my gardens and we would communicate through the scent of herbs and flowers. If he liked it, it went into his pocket, and if he didn’t he would wrinkle his nose and hand it back.
By the end of the year we were having verbal conversations. They were short ones, but those few words between us are a treasure I hold dear to my heart.
I often think of him and wonder if he remembers our herbal communications. Did I plant a seed? Does he still enjoy the scents of herbs and flowers even today? By now I feel he is old enough to plant a garden of his own, and I like to think that if he does have a garden, that there is Cleveland sage growing somewhere in the midst of it.
You may call me a dreamer, but that was a special year, and I hope the seeds we planted were special ones… and that they bore fruit.
A special thank you to Lynda Phillips Kachurek, at Second Memory, for her post on Aromatherapy which inspired me today.