Kids Corner


The Seedling:
Letters from Espanola





Winter is the season of deep sleep and dreams. Everything under the ground waits for the warmth of the sun, imagining what it might become one day.

I spent much of this winter dreaming about corn.

Some rare corn seeds (Hopi Pink) had come into my life in the fall. While the temperatures plummeted outside, I stayed inside, studying traditional styles of planting. Visualizing where and how I would plant the seeds. Creating a story in my mind to follow.

May the 9th was the new moon, and there is a tradition to plant corn on the new moon. I had taken time in March and April to prepare the land as best as I could. The day I had dreamed about all winter had finally arrived. It was time to sow the seeds.

The hole for the seeds had been prepared earlier in the spring, and I planted 3-4 seeds into a hole, 4-6 inches deep. That way, the corn could grow in a clump according to its tradition. I had amended the soil to some degree.

Would it be enough? I didn't know.

Would the water sink down? Would the native clay in the soil help or hinder the roots?

Every step of the way, I watched all my doubts come to the surface. "What are you doing? You don't know what you're doing! You have never grown corn in your life. What makes you think this is going to work? What if you waste this seed, waste its chance? What about everything you don't know? Is this really the best way?"

There is a phrase, "Communing with nature." Communicating without human language with the natural world around us.

A lot of time, when I am in my garden, I fall into that state. Talking out loud to the grasses and the plants. Listening to their secrets. And as I finished planting the seeds, I felt a laugh come up from the earth. "Silly woman," it seemed to say to me, "Don't you know that life belongs to itself?"

In a moment, the image in my mind of what “I” was doing completely rearranged itself.

The seeds were the master, not me. They had come into my life because they wanted me to try and grow them. I had spent all winter thinking, researching, and praying about these seeds. Used my intuition to create the best beds I could for them. Beds that would give them life, but only if they could handle where they were planted. I had been their servant.

And now, their destiny had to come from within themselves. It was not under my control. No one has control over how a seed will sprout or what it will become. The lives of the seeds belonged to themselves.

There are moments of dreaming, imagining, hoping and planning. And then there are moments to set the sequence in motion and let it go. Give up all those dreams. Surrender every hope. Take the first step, and let the hand of the Divine decide the outcome.

This is the risk and truth of life. It is easy to stay in the comfortable darkness of winter, where everything and anything is possible one day. It is harder to commit to a course of action, where you have to surrender control over success or failure. Where the only thing you can command is your own commitment to do your best.

There is a phrase from Walt Whitman's “Leaves of Grass“. He says, "Battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won."

It speaks to a cosmic truth – that life has an indomitable soul. It engages the fight to survive and thrive with equal vigour and love, regardless of the outcome. To me, that same vibration runs through the phrase, "Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh."

Victory is not in our own hands. It is in the hands of that amazing wisdom which accompanies us through life in order to teach us something.

Whatever the outcome, the corn seeds had become my teachers. I was going to learn something, one way or the other. And their power to live or power to die remained with them. It was never in my hands to begin with.

*   *   *   *   *

Every morning since the new moon, I have gone outside before breakfast and watered the seeds. Plucked away baby tumbleweeds and goat-head weeds that kept presenting themselves.

And waited.

Last weekend, I saw something that I had never seen before.

It was a small plant with green, tender leaves sticking straight up, and a flush of pink at the base of the stem. I caught my breath. Could it be …?

I realized I had absolutely no idea what a corn seedling looked like.

I went inside and googled “corn seedlings.” Sure enough, the images on the internet confirmed what I barely hoped. The seeds had made the journey from six inches below the ground to the surface. They had begun to sprout.

Since then, we have had a couple of unseasonably cold nights where the temperatures dipped into the 40's. But the seedlings made it through. Another day, it was much hotter and the dry desert winds were blowing. Yet, the seedlings made it through.

So far, about half the seeds that were planted have sprouted. It is a total miracle to me. By Guru's grace, all that dreaming from winter has paid off. And now, some of those seeds truly have a chance at life.

Will they make it to maturity? That is a different question. Will they be able to pollinate each other and create more corn? That is an entirely different question.

Who can predict how the cycle of life will unfold? For them. For me. For any of us.

But it is fair to say that they, at least, have begun the journey. A small wonder unfolds itself day by day outside my window. The earth whispered to me, "Life belongs to itself."

And that whisper was right.

Life belongs to its Self.

The seeds are teaching me that.


May 25, 2013

Conversation about this article

1: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), May 27, 2013, 9:40 PM.

Like the seedling, we as humans have our own growth and function and the main function is to acknowledge and love and honour the Being which put the plants on this planet and all the creatures ...

2: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 28, 2013, 8:56 AM.

The instructions on the seed packet by the Great Gardener, for the right season for planting: "hun vatai har naam na beeji-o agai bhukhaa ka-aa kahay-ay" [GGS:450.9] - "Now, in this most fortunate season, he does not plant the seed of the Lord's Name; what will the hungry soul eat, in the world hereafter?"

3: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), May 28, 2013, 3:26 PM.

Another 'tuk' overpowers me and has been ringing in my head in the powerful voice of Guru Arjan: "an rut naahe naahe ik naam bovhu bovhu / ab kalu aa-i-o ray parfooltaa ray / ik rahay sook saghan baas koolay har chayt man mayray (rahaao) tummilhu parab sabhaagay / charan kamal paagay ahan ti-aag ti-aagay / daykh phool phool phoolay" [GGS:1185.3] - "It blossoms forth luxuriantly. The season of spring has come, while others remain like dry wood. The tender young plants smell so good. O my mind, remain conscious of the Lord. Meet with God, O blessed one, grasp hold of His lotus Feet, behold the flowering and the blossoming forth."

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Letters from Espanola"

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