This morning, I went to water the few remaining trays of seedlings in our greenhouse and discovered that a mouse had eaten some of my precious late sprouting watermelon plants. I had been covering the tray to keep them out, but forgot in the rush of a late bedtime the night before. Darn.
It never seems to be less than a miracle when a row, a tray, a pot of seeds germinates and thrives.
The process inspires me over and over again.
Seeds are like thoughts.
They can be potent and powerful and ready to sprout and grow into something. Thoughts like that easily translate into action. I love those kinds of thoughts. Sometimes thoughts, and seeds, get stale and grow more slowly. Some seeds naturally take a long time to sprout. And some thoughts are like weed seeds. In fact, a lot of thoughts grow into weeds. If left unchecked, they take up valuable space and hinder our progress. Clearing them out is necessary work if we are to have a productive and beautiful garden, and life.
But it isn’t just the seed that matters. There’s the growing medium. The potting mix. The soil. The ground. Is it fertile enough to maintain the growth of our seeds? Are there harmful diseases, bacteria, and fungus that will infect the seedling and hinder its life?
Soil is like attention.
Thoughts alone are not the mind. Seeds alone don’t make plants.
No analogy is perfect, but bear with me.
We start our small seeds in soil blocks. This allows us to germinate thousands of seeds on a small folding table indoors. It gives us a little more time to nurture the seedling’s early environment before sending it outdoors. But there have been times when things have gone wrong.
We scramble to narrow down the possibilities. Did we let the blocks dry out too much, or did we keep them too wet? Are the seeds old and losing strength? But we’ve learned now that it’s often an imbalance in the potting mix. (See? It’s not usually the seed’s fault.)
Like soil, if our attention is not strong and balanced, we will have a hard time maintaining a healthy stream of thought and bringing it to fruition. We need focused attention to hold the root firm, but enough breathing room to allow both root and stem to expand and grow. How easy is it to pull a plant out of sand? How hard is it to uproot a dandelion from clay?
It is not always easy to hold attention in one place, to keep directing it where it belongs. In fact, it’s quite difficult sometimes. Distractions are endless. It’s like feeding the soil, and cultivating. It’s a continual effort, and there are ups and downs. Each season, each day, each breath is different. Each is an opportunity.
I’m feeling fortunate this morning, that there are more watermelon seeds, waiting to be planted. There’s also a good batch of potting soil made up, ready to support them. Sunlight, rain, the coming summer all these companions make life so possible, so good.
May the works of our lives bear sweet fruits this season. Like watermelons.