March has been an exciting month on the farm. For me it is the month of seeds. Not only are seeds germinating all over the forest floor, I’ve been planting them by the hundreds in the greenhouse nursery. It’s a time of anticipation. I always seem to have a slight anxiety about starting so many seeds and caring for them. “What if they don’t germinate this year?” Or “what if I forget to water them?” I’m still surprised and thrilled each time they wake up and rise, arms outstretched toward the sun.
Seeds are powerful. They operate in our culture and in our psyche on a literal and metaphorical level like nothing else. They are possibility incarnate - a tiny gift package wrapped in a protective outer layer with infinite potential to sprout, grow, and produce more seeds while providing food and shelter to humans and animals alike. Joan Chittister writes, “In every seed lie the components of all life the world has known from all time to now.”
Our ancestors have been saving, selecting, and planting seeds for thousands of years, which is largely why we are here today. It is an essential part of the human discipline.
This past month we planted thousands of seeds in the Bellwether greenhouse with hopes for a successful farm season. Times have been stressful recently and it’s hard to know what the outcome of COVID-19 will be. It has helped me to reflect on the resilience, vigor, and faithfulness of nature and of seeds in particular. Christ told his followers to have faith like
a mustard seed (dozens of which we have already planted this year, specifically the broadleaf kind). Similarly, Thoreau mused, “Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in
a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” Faith like a seed and faith in a seed.
Wherever you are this spring, in a big city or a small country town, in a house or an apartment of some sort, I highly recommend the ancient art and practice of planting seeds. Hold them in your hands. Observe them. Reflect on their shape and size. Have faith like them and in them. Then plant them and watch them grow. Expect wonders.
P.S. Don’t forget to water!