On the Stories of Seeds and the Stories of our Souls
Linda Gregg CSJ
Here at the Villa in Cobourg, the garden has been “put to bed” and winter is settling in contentedly around us. The air is colder, seeping into the ground and readying the earth for its winter sleep. I was sorting some dried seeds the other day and was reflecting on the way seeds have stories, each unique to its own variety and type. Within the heart of seed lies a story about to be born, but before that time of birthing there is a journey that it must undergo.
I remember as a child being told, by a wise old gardener, the miracle of an oak tree seed. Holding the acorn with its little cap in my child’s hand, I listened to the wondrous journey it would undertake – and it would do so by listening to the story written into its being, within that little acorn in my hand. For one day that acorn with its cap would become one of those towering oaks that offer majesty and strength to the forest grove, yet also lend gentle branches to cradle a fragile bird’s nest and, in time, learn to wisely converse with the wind that ripples through the green cloak of its oak leaves.
But it would be a journey, a journey of listening to the story written within and learning to live that story. Not unlike the story of our souls. Inscribed in the seed of our souls is the story of what can be – if we listen to the wisdom written into our soul’s journey.
Seeds all have a particular set of sequences necessary before the seed can be birthed. There are some seeds that have a very hard seed coat that serves to keep moisture out. But over time, this coat is gradually worn down by the weathering effect of the elements, interaction with soil microorganisms, or through being taken up as a tidbit by birds. The inner seed remains safeguarded while the hard seed coat gradually wears down. This strategy is necessary for, in this way, the seed germination is being delayed for several months – timed by an unseen wisdom for when spring arrives and the right growth conditions for germination exist.
And seeds are individuals, as we are. Peas, beets, beans and spinach like a good soak before they germinate. Many seeds of perennials and woody plants absolutely will not germinate until they’ve have had a good freeze-up. If you plant these immediately after harvest, they will not germinate. These include, Asters, Black-Eyed Susan, Pansy, Coneflower, Primrose and Lupine.
And as we know, in the wild this occurs naturally, in the time of deepening cold as winter visits upon the land and brings upon us the deepest, dark of waiting times. This deepest dark we ourselves journey through at times, a waiting upon what we cannot yet see, but believe will come, if we are faithful to the moment we are living through. The seed knows.