I remember the first time I started to plant seeds.
It began with a hole in the ground. Like it was yesterday, I remember planting my first seed. Even before planting it, I remember where the dream of planting the seed began.
This post is written as a personal story, but the meaning behind planting seeds, nurturing gardens, watching things grow, is inside the very fabric of life itself. I do hope you enjoy the story.
It began in nature. I took one look at an acorn, another at an oak tree, and my imagination went so wild with the energy it felt like my mind had lost its virginity. But in a super wholesome way, of course.
Raise your hand if you get butterflies in your stomach during the Lord of the Rings series, when you hear the quote all of us garden-lovers enjoy, “…where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of things that grow.”
Nothing beats fresh tilled soil and watching things grow.
Watching seeds grow into seedlings, adolescent trees mature into shady oaks— these things were and are ecstasy for me. If you’re still reading, they probably are for you too.
There is an aliveness to it. Envisioning and letting the imagination run wild creates an intensely gratifying, liberating, self-actualizing kind of energy. And planting seeds in the soil of the earth kindles and stimulates that kind of energy and life in us.
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It may come as no surprise, that in high school, I set out to plant a forest of trees.
After visiting the local tree-nursery, I determined that my tree of choice would be the Bradford Pear, known for its white blossoms and resilience to Texas heat.
But I quickly realized that despite my overwhelmingly high enthusiasm for plowing, planting and envisioning, seeds take more than that. They also take consistency and nurturing care.
If my ideas come by the platinum-rimmed truckload, my nurturing tools aren’t worthy of a yard-sale.
My mind can look at the seeds… whether they be literal tree seeds, conceptual theories, or business ideas… and see towering giants of trees in an instant. If you haven’t already suspected it, my obsession with being in idea-zone naturally has its dark side. Leaving idea-zone so that I can deal with (god forbid) practical reality can be a major buzzkill. But growth requires these things.
My motivation to water each and every one of those trees 3-4 times per week? To prune them and care for them? Yikes. I needed a solution.
The Solution: Irrigate and Set to Autopilot.
My Dad suggested that I set up an irrigation system. I bought some PVC pipe, glue, and primer, and started walking toward the checkout aisle.
I noticed as I went, though, that this kind of work excites me. The setting up of things. The planting. And doing work that allowed the process of planting seeds to fit my spontaneous nature. Speaking of nature, isn’t it marvelous that, at a certain point in the seed planting process, nature just takes over?
Back to the story. Setting up irrigation was practical and tedious work, yes, but I knew that the monotony of making these purchases and building this system would lead to my trees growing like bamboo shoots, and it would largely remove me from the nurturing process.
As I walked through the store’s aisles toward the front of the store, a gadget caught my eye. What’s this? An autopilot timer? A timer that I could set up once, program days of the week, watering durations, frequency, and so forth, and leave it to do the nurturing for me!? Sweet Mother Nature, I was never more filled with energy.
I shelled out the money, brought home the materials, rented a trencher, and got to work.
*Note: The picture above is not the picture that fits this story. It is one that I took, but it’s not reality. This is the field I had in my head when I set out to plant seeds but it’s not what ended up growing.
Hours later, here’s how things were going:
- Trenches and holes for trees dug, check.
- Pipe cut & laid, check.
- Autopilot irrigation system, check.
I asked Mom to mix a fresh batch of Tropic Flavored Kool-Aid, I set up a lawn chair… and sat back to watch the glory. Life was treasure-trove, golden-pot-at-the-end-the-rainbow good.
And on the next day, Forrest rested from his work…
When the setup work was in place, and the machine was handling the monotony of watering the trees, I noticed something I didn’t expect. An intense joy welled up inside me, and I wanted to keep working.
I wanted to nurture the system. I wanted to plant more beautiful things that complimented the scene.
The next day I went back to the store to buy some grass seed, a bit more PVC pipe, and I enhanced my oasis. The primary components of the system were already in place, so why not add some extra greenery?
Everything was on autopilot. Everything was passive. Everything was good.
Don’t let the seeds die, Forrest!
To the present day, when auburn leaves start to fall each year, I start noticing where acorns hit the ground in abundance. We even have a gargantuan pecan tree at our house now, and I’ve been eyeing the green cased pecans for a few weeks…
I learned a valuable lesson back in high school. There’s something absolutely necessary for any seed Forrest ever plants, and any endeavor he jumps into… an irrigation system.
Deep Concluding Thought: We are channels of pipe ourselves. Energy is not ours such that we could hold in our hands. It flows through us, like water to the seeds. We do not make things grow. We witness their growth.
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