The Lesson of the Seeds


New year: 2015. Must admit, I never thought this far in advance to now have thoughts about whether I was right or wrong about what I would be doing by now. Strange feeling. And a little sad, too, because that means that I was so caught up in the here and now that I never thought much about the future. Even after having children, I thought about their futures, but never thought much about my own.

So, what do I do now?

Dream. Plan. Try. Fail. Analyze. Learn. Try again. Succeed. Dream new dreams.

I think this is the lesson that I’ve learned from seeds.

When I joined the community garden, I wasn’t a complete novice. I had tried before at another location. But, since that attempt, I hadn’t tried anything remotely green, except fail miserably at growing houseplants in an apartment that was best at growing fungi (due to a leak in the bathroom, I actually had mushrooms growing out of my wall one year in one of my old places. HPD [Dept. of Housing, Preservation, & Development] loved that one when they came to check for violations.) Once I joined the community garden, though, I was ready to try again. And did I try.

Some successes, some failures.

Each time, a plant died, I heard a voice asking me what I could have done better. For the first time in a very long time, I seriously thought about how to answer that kind of question. Back to the drawing board. But a drawing board means a plan, and a plan means a dream, an idea, a hope, a wish… And wishes mean thoughts of a future where things go right.

I didn’t make new year’s resolutions for this year, I made plans for my garden plots. Two official plots, and two more tiny spots to turn into something special. Plans for paving the dirt around my plots so they don’t get waterlogged and weedy. Plans for giving my perennial plants a permanent home. Plans for how to use the fences close to my plots. When I go to bed at night, I dream about what everything will look like when I’m done.

I see my berry canes filled with plump berries, and ripe tomatoes on the vines. I see the first asparagus shoots of spring. I see something I’ve dreamed about becoming real.

The most important word seeds have taught me the meaning of: hope. If you don’t have hope, there’s no point in planting seeds. If you don’t have hope, you can’t think of your own future.

For 2015, I have hopes and dreams. I have ideas and plans. My drawing board is overflowing. And I keep pens and scraps of paper at hand to jot down all the things I’m thinking of. Some will take root in my garden, which I now see as my creative space. But others will take root out there.

Maybe you’ll read something I wrote this year.