Rays of low November sun glint through greenhouse glass. The air outside is crisp and smells of Earth going to sleep. Leaves blanket the ground in beautiful bronzes, ambers and rusts. In the warmth of the greenhouse, I methodically schoop the hull-less seeds from the squash named “Buschol Kurbis, Curcubita pepo. My skin is layered with that of the squash’s. There is a reverance in my heart, I think about this squash’s season growing out of the field on the ridgetop, across form the tree where the eagles perch.
How many sunrises and sunsets, how many moons did she greet? How many drops of rain did she drink, of dew did she hold? How many bluebirds sang to each other as they flew over? How many turkeys did she see strut by, tail feathers fanned? How many other flowers were born within the same garden, belonging to all the other crops? How many wild seeds feel to the ground in the woods around her this season?
My coworkers have gone to lunch. Here in the solititude of my thoughts I breathe in slowly taking in the sounds of the old ceremony songs playing from the speaker. Soon I come to realize the throughts passing through my mind are born not from me, but from the squash.
She says “You and I are subject to the same laws of Creation. In many ways, we are the same.”
“You, the midwives who helped me usher my embryo into the next phase of childhood in the spring, you are carried in different vessels than I, yes. Yet we are related. Life is a mysterious and complex and there is also a simplicity to being alive. Listen to the energy of life around you.”
“When I reached adolescence, you planted my feet in the Earth. With each passing day of sweet summer, I came into adulthood. All of my kin and I were planted next to each other in a row and bloomed together. Our bodies are dual, both male and female. My thin male blossoms laden with pollen burst forth from stamens as my turgid female flowers bearing reciptive stigmas unfurled. The dual life generating essences united to create. Together we created the children you uncover from the valley of my body.”
“All of this was orchestrated within the web of life. Insects helped manifest my next generation. We traded in service to one another – nectar for pollen transfer. My fruit you hold in your hand began as one of my female flowers who because fertilized in some manner. Perhaps it was a bee, perhaps my brother wind carried the fertile pollen to my stigma. There is all manner that life comes into the world.”
“Some of my flowers were not fertile at the right time to be pollinated. Some of them did not get fertilized. Still, I became what I already was. Because of that the next generation is here, the seeds in your hand.”
“Surrender and become what you already are. Do not panic about your course, just stay on it. You will always have what you need: It’s all charted in the stars for you. Do not worry my relative, you and I are alive in this good life together.”
My heart feelsas if a new cavern was carved in it, a new cavity to hold love and wonder for our world. So much wisdom, holding so much complexity and simplicity all in one, was shared. It makes me wonder something about the knowing that this precious plant exchanged with my own heart. How much is the world around us teaching, all the time? What multitudes of knowlege can we learn from our plant relatives? How many knowings rise in our heart that we dismiss or ignore? I vow, not only to do my part in protecting the plants and the Earth, but to humble myself to be a student of them, always.
Korbin Lyn Paul, Seed Savers Exchange 2018