A seed and a story

Nicole - Burnsville, North Carolina
Entered on May 11, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe in the power of a seed to grow into a plant each time it hits soil. Everytime I push a seed into the dirt it is an act of faith. It requires confidence in the power of the unknown. This is not the power of the unknown I was raised with. The hallowed grounds of church pews and Latin incantations rarely spoke about planting seeds. Yet as I have repeated this ritual over and over each season, it has replaced those Sunday mornings.

I know if a seeds gets warmth, light, and water it will open up and sprout out, it will grow. Yet so many things can go wrong after my hand pushes down that tiny pod into the dirt. Perhaps the seeds won’t sprout for some stubborn reason. It won’t get enough water or sun. The mice will eat it. Just like anything in life, things could go wrong badly, which in my line of work would be disastrous. No market table loaded down with colorful eggplant, squash, tomatoes, kale and lettuces. No hungry appetites satisfied. No money in the bank. But somehow with this act of faith, I am rewarded with seas of green sprouts the next week. Little green heads pushing up out of the dirt, exclaiming their independence and life, separate from me entirely. After this first leap into the unknown, much like birth, the real works starts. To tend the seedlings, to nuture them and watch their growth, and protect them. Sometimes when I look down at myself, covered in dirt and grime, I wonder how I got here. It’s far from my suburban roots of digging dandelions out of the lawn so it would be a sea of green- uniform and homogoneous. Yet it is not so far from the tending and care my parents gave me and taught me to give others. So as I lay blankets on my seedlings to keep the hungry bugs off or hoe away greedy weeds sucking nutrients, I am enacting acts of faith in a new way. I watch them grow and grow until finally they yield themselves to us for nourishment. The tending and care that I have given them folds into their formation and eventually into my own stomach and the others who ingest it. Some folks have remarked to me how healthy and nourished they feel after eating our vegetables. They feel the healthful forces which go into them. Somehow it makes sense that what we give to the plants and land cycles back to those that eat what we grow. Just as the care that my parents gave me cycles back to my children and farm. It makes sense that a farm cared for like a child would give healthy food. So I have to believe each new season that the tiny pods of seeds of different shapes and sizes will be a heap of vegetables on my plate and market table. I must leap over and over, have faith in the unknown, tend and care, watch and wait and wait and wait until finally the plant yields itself back to us. This I believe again and again as seeds hit dirt and grow.