Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Planting seeds

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

It's been an interesting Spring around here.  We are still navigating the huge learning curve of last year's garden.  The hardest thing to accept has been the much shorter growing season of our gardening zone.  We were spoiled when we lived in Atlanta.  We enjoyed an extended Spring that allowed for much longer growing opportunities and a bit more grace, in terms of frost dates and such.

But here, it's been much different.

This is the second year that we have not had our garden fully planted by this time.  We've been plagued by either rainy weather or threatening temperatures.  If you ask any old timer around here they will insist that you should never plant your garden before Mother's Day.  When I first heard that I literally laughed out loud.  Surely they couldn't be serious!  

They were dead serious. 

Mother's Day morning blew in freezing temperatures in these parts.


So, we are forced to take a breather and be patient.  

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
...a time to plant and a time to uproot"
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2

Many of our learning experiences this year have been hidden in these breaths.

Much like the seeds that we have been able to plant thus far, there is important work going on, underground.

It would be absolutely ridiculous of me to ready my soil, plant my seed, water it gently and then expect instant growth--evidence of my attempts at fruitfulness.
Even under the best circumstances, a seed can only grow as fast as it, as an individual, was designed to emerge.  If you've ever planted a row of seeds, you've witnessed this first hand. Given the exact same soil, and the same amount of moisture and sunlight and prayers and petitions, certain seeds will burst forth precious leaves of hope before others. 

Every time.

Those first seedlings are not necessarily "better" than the ones to follow, things just jelled for them sooner than the others.  There is even reason to believe that, in some cases, that later emergence will benefit the plant in the long run by providing deeper roots.  Or, even more interestingly, bigger leaves that help to absorb more sunlight and, thus, enable the plant to better feed itself throughout its life cycle.

So, as we ramble down this road of organic learning, I'm learning to let things be.  I'm trying to extract the industrial yield expectations of traditional education from my scorecard and replace them, instead, with ones that are sustainable.

I'm witnessing, daily, that there is more than one path to follow to learn the same thing and one way is not, by its nature, superior to another.

I've seen that hours and hours of quiet reading on one's own, following one's particular interest, spins a matrix of paths and trails that lead to more subjects and facts than makes sense to my limited mind.

I'm, now, humbly aware that five year old kids can master the concept of global warming and all of its ill effects, while still not 100% confidant of all the letters of the alphabet.

And I've come to accept that all of the elements in a day--the sunshine, the wind, the pelting rain--all serve a purpose.  All are needed at some point on the journey to grow something beautiful and unique.

"Don't try to force anything.   Let life be a deep let-go.
See [God/Spirit/All That Is] opening millions of flowers
every day without forcing the buds."
-  Bhagwan Shree Rayneesh

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