Water, light and food.
If wall charts could talk, they’d tell you these are the things plants need to survive, to advance from seeds into leaf bearers.
Wall charts work better, of course, with human interpreters: gardeners, farmers, teachers. It’s one thing to diagram photosynthesis but another to act out how plants grow cattywampus if they don’t get even amounts of light. It’s one thing to talk about calculating dehydration but another to stick your finger in the dirt.
Water, light, food.
And love, a gardener might add, noting that gardens need careful nurturing in order to bloom, that their beauty never comes from following a soulless diagram. Plants crave companionship and care as much as people do.
Water, light, food, love.
And time, the farmer would say, for nothing comes to full harvest overnight. You must have patience when helping things grow, an unhurried understanding of how different things mature differently.
Water, light, food, love, time.
And change, nudges the teacher. Cultivating the exact same thing in exactly the same place eventually depletes every richness. Sometimes, oftentimes, reaching the next stage of growth requires a different environment. Seedlings outgrow their cups; fields and crops must rotate. All of us must move on.
Water, light, food, love, time and change.