Seeds. Tiny, tightly
packed, wax coated, sparks of life.
Waiting for the warmth.
The day that we start the first seeds always creeps up on me. I used to resist this. I felt annoyed that I was not ready. Irritated that I wasn’t prepared. How did it happen again? Am I ever going to get a hang of this farming thing and be ready for once when this important date arrives?
(If you’ve ever wanted a look inside my head, that’s what the monologue often looks like.)
But this year, I suddenly feel different.
Not because anything is really any different this time around. No, on the contrary--we are just as unprepared as ever. In fact we are probably in more disarray then usual what with the farm moving last fall and all.
As I go through the motions of stamping out our little soil blocks and moistening the black earth and smelling all the familiar smells I am able to fall into some thought.
What actually am I doing?
These motions are strange indeed. Mixing earth and water and heat and air? Not too much or too little of any one element?
Everything I am touching (according to the scientific myth) is just dead elements.
And yet… according to legend… something new and alive will rise up from those dead elements? Not just more of any one element, but something entirely new. Something colorful. Something that multiplies and multiplies and multiplies. What strange mysteries.
We’ve been told since the third grade how it works. EVERYONE knows that seeds sprout. But the truth is, they don’t. Because “Seeds” and “sprout” are just words. And words, neverending words, don’t. do. anything. They just sit there on the page and eventually crumble into dust.
“Seeds” and “soil” and “heat” and “moisture” are just terms that signify a certian set of pale mental apprehensions. They exist in your head but they are NOT reality.
Reality is magic.
And no matter how many times they tell you how it works, no matter how many ways they try to explain it, they never can give you the magic.
Because magic is mystery and mystery can not be put into words.
Mystery is performed through ritual.
And it is always a surprise.
Which is why this year, I will not greet the surprising arrival of seed starting day with annoyance. The sprouting of seeds IS a mystery. And therefore, it MUST be a surprise. To wrangle it into predictable routine would destroy the mystery. And to destroy mystery is to destroy life.
It must be a surprise then. And we must let it always be a surprise. Anything else would be tragedy. Don't resist surprise.
So I will perform this seed starting ritual with attentiveness, watching and waiting for the miracle of new life. I will let myself be surprised when the day arrives and I will be surprised again when that magical green life comes creeping out of this soil.