"Your lettuce is going to seed," she accused me ever-so-haughtily. "It really bothers me that people don't harvest their vegetables and at least give them to the food bank."
I sighed. It was true. Some of my lettuce had gone to seed. And the spinach. The basil too. Not all, mind you. Hubby and I have been eating fresh lettuce and basil and spinach until the cows come home. I wouldn't qualify her accusation with a defense; but in my mind, I mulled over how much of it went to friends, neighbors, and passersby.
"Hey, do you want some lettuce?" I hollered one day to a pretty young Mexican woman walking along the sidewalk with a baby in the stroller and a beautiful little boy in hand. The child was around 5, with huge brown eyes that seemed to fill his tiny face, and his jet black hair was long and wavy. "Too pretty to be a boy," I thought, thinking that he reminded me of my 'pretty boy' Sammy, when he was about that age. She spoke little English, but we figured out how to communicate a bit. She seemed happy to have the lettuce-- and the boy was thrilled to play for a moment with Baron, my big lab; who always accompanies me when I go over to the community plot to weed and water. "Lucinda...my name..." she said, placing her hands on her heart. "I am Debora," I replied in kind, "and this is Baron." The little boy repeated his name over and over. "Baron, Baron, Baron. I like Baron."
We smiled at one another and they took the lettuce and walked home. I went back to my weeding. No big deal. No magnanimous gesture--it was just lettuce.
Today I went over to water my plot. The garden's getting pretty ratty-looking and more plants have gone to seed. I groaned. Wonder what "Miss Persnickity" will have to say about this? I decide to pick some poppy pods. I'll take them home and sow them in a sunny spot in my yard next spring. Poppies and cosmos grow wild in our community garden. They come up wherever the wind and birds drop them. I just let them grow randomly among the radishes and spinach. It's always such a welcome surprise to see what pretty thing nature is going to drop on my doorstep!
I've been thinking much about seeds. Seedtime and harvest.
"To everything there is a season," pens the sage author of Ecclesiastes. "...and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted..."
In spite of what my dour friend thinks, going to seed is not necessarily a bad thing. It's a necessity for the continuation of the species, be it poppies, lettuce...or human beings. We are born, we bloom, we bear fruit, and we return to the earth. I think about all of the seeds that have been planted in my life. The seed of life from my parents. Seeds of knowledge from teachers, seeds of friendship and kindness, and sometimes sadly, seeds of hatred, despair, and hurt. We all sow them; don't we? Our words, our deeds, our thoughts, our prayers, our smiles, our gestures...all seeds. Sometimes we sow them purposefully and with intention, in neat little rows. Other times we scatter them carelessly.
I meet so many people who wonder what their purpose in life is. Always looking for the 'big sign' that will show them where to go, what to do, and prove to them once and for all that their life has meaning. I've felt that way too. I used to joke that God needs to drop an anvil on my head with a note attached to get my attention and tell me what He wants me to do. Like the Roadrunner does to Wile E. Coyote....beep, beep!
Somewhere along the way I figured something out. It's pretty simple. Sow seeds. Sow love. Sow kindness. Sow relief to someone in pain. Sow a smile. Sow a potted geranium. Sow a bowl of soup. Sow a "you look beautiful." Sow $10 for gas. Sow a phone call to your mom. Sow a note to somebody who's down. Talk to the homeless guy who's living by the pond where you exercise your dog. Help him remember that he is worthy of being heard. Give somebody a head of lettuce...That's it.
There it is...your anvil with a note scribbled on it from me.
While I was picking poppy pods, I accidentally crushed one of them. Hundreds of little poppy seeds spilled to the ground. Hundreds. From just one flower.
You're like that. Just full of seeds waiting to be sown. From just you, little ol' you! Imagine that!
So as for me, well I've stopped looking for the 'big sign.' I'm just tossing seeds. Sometimes I plant them carefully. Other times, I just throw them into the breeze and let it take them where it may.
|The Poppy Blumenfeld by Claude Monet|