Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I'm back on my kick of writing about seed starting, but probably not what you think! As I write this, we're treated to yet another bout of cool spring rains. I'm happy for the rain; my seeds are all up, and need the moisture. We did get the irrigation system buried yesterday and the new nifty tripod sprinkler going. But I'd rather let Nature water the garden than tax my well any more than it has to be taxed. Outside, directly sown into the garden beds, my radishes, Swiss Chard, spinach, lettuce and broccoli rabe are all sprouting, and the onions and strawberries are thriving.
Seed starting begins so long before harvest that it's easy to forget the time and patience needed for it. First off, you have to plan the garden. That began last November when we carefully sketched out the beds onto graph paper, and I penciled in all my thoughts and dreams of the harvest. Next came the seed catalogs - oh, the seed catalogs! Since hiding my credit cards didn't work, I succumbed to the allure of the glossy catalog pages and bought way too many seeds. But that wasn't enough, so I raided Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, K Mart, and the dollar store for more.
Patiently I visited the shelves in the basement and the glass jars full of perennial seeds collected from the beds next to the driveway. I printed calendars to know when to start my seeds, I sterilized my seed trays.
I planted. I waited. I prayed.
And now...they are here.
So much of life is like this. I was writing yesterday to a dear friend, a woman I have known for over 20 years who once harbored dreams of writing. She lamented that since her daughter was born she hasn't had time to put pen to paper and write the wonderful poems she used to write. She feels as if she's lost her gift, although I can tell you that by her emails the gift isn't lost, it is just sleeping until her daughter steps out to college and she has time to remember and awaken it.
I want to tell her that she's planted the right seeds through all the wonderful poems she's written. I have one framed and on the wall of my office. Those kind of seeds never die - creativity merely lies dormant until you awaken it.
I was speaking to a woman from church who wanted to know how I wrote all that I did; where did I get my ideas? How did I find assignments? How did I develop my consulting and writing practice? How could she do this too? I gave her the same strategies I've given to other writers, and she seemed upset, as if I was holding something back. I didn't. It's just that there is no special secret, despite what all the how-to and self help books tell you.
It's all seed starting...life is like seed starting. You plan, you plant the seed of an idea, you water it well, and you pray a lot over it. Then you wait.
I tried to explain this to the lady from church. She wants success now. She wants to know my 'secret' but there isn't any secret. I go to work every day. I put in anywhere from 8 to 12 hours of work a day. I send out query letters for assignments, I write. I do my best. Each action I take is like a little seed of opportunity being planted. I have faith that these seeds will grow into work and some sort of pay check, but I have no guarantee. Every day is like my garden; I step into the office and note what's grown, and what weeds need to be pulled.
You have to be willing to be patient. You have to be willing to plant a seed every day. You have to be willing to tend the garden. Most of all, you need faith in the process that something will flourish.
If it's time...God's time...it slowly unfurls into the perfect little being...or project...or plan.
Creativity is like seed starting. Whatever you dream of doing, it lies within you, waiting for the water and sunlight to encourage it to blossom.
I wish I could encourage everyone to garden. Nature remains the best teacher, and observing her rituals, flowing with her timing, spills over into everything I do.