Seeding Up by Sara Wright

Every spring it’s the same… the hunger to begin starting seeds. As a woman and an eco -feminist I am convinced that this need to work with seeds and soil is an ancient pattern that stretches back to our egalitarian matriarchal beginnings.

Some of us like me come from a family of gardeners so there is something to say about the influence of our ancestors directing this process on a personal level. Both patterning and ancestral influences seem to work together. Another “both and”.

After I broke my foot last year I was forced to cease gardening altogether out of necessity because I could no longer use a shovel. If I am really honest I can say I was more than ready to let go. I have grown both vegetables and flowers since I was a child, then while raising a family. At mid – life when I moved to the mountains I made (what seems today) a radical decision. I decided to plant trees, plants and flowers primarily for non – humans in a small area around my house. Nature determined what grew and thrived on the rest of my land. Today people call this re-wilding but then my intention was simple. I wanted to give back to nature what S/he had given to me. I wanted nature to be the receiver.

 Planting fruit trees, creating vernal pools, and scattering wildflowers encouraged more birds, bees, butterflies, frogs, salamanders and beneficial insects to visit my little sanctuary. When i wanted to make medicinal tinctures, I discovered those I needed could usually be found in the woods/meadows/lowlands near my house. But in retrospect I was still just too busy. It wasn’t until I broke my foot that I had a revelation! I was finally free to spend all my time in the woods. The Naturalist in me is finally coming first, and I am taking more joy from wandering than ever before. My primary role today is that of observer.

This year in mid – February the temperatures have been so mild that it feels like spring in Maine. Buds are swelling prematurely. A couple of days ago I heard my male cardinals singing the first of their mating songs. And at the local land trust (MLT) Great Blue sailed through the estuary. Although what these changes suggest is deeply disturbing, I confess that on some days I love the mild temperatures; on others I grieve. “We belong to the seasons” writes Richard Powers and some days I feel the joy of change, on others I feel a great sadness.

There are some trails I visit within walking distance of the place I sometimes stay – I’ve become something of a nomad. Fortunately, I can find my way to woods that are open to biking, snowmobiling, snow – shoeing or skiing. NO walkers are allowed on the trails. Has walking become obsolete? Because I weigh less than a hundred pounds, I can traverse these snowpacked surfaces without a trace and often make my way into a small patch of woods when others aren’t around. This kind of walk saves me!

The other day with chickadees accompanying me I came across an old shagbark hickory, a real treat. I also found an abundance of some bean – like seed pods that I was not able to identify. I believe they are ornamentals from somewhere that escaped but I might be wrong. When I bent down to examine the pods, I noted to my horror that the 60 degree temperatures had encouraged the little seeds to send out rootlets prematurely.

Well, you guessed it – I had to have them! The seed woman burst out of the ground without an ounce of consciousness… Picking up a handful of pods I brought them back and placed them in warm water for the night. The next morning rootlets sprouted from every seed, rootlets that would have frozen solid last night – this morning it was eight degrees.

Now what? I don’t even know what these seeds are beyond the fact that they hang from trees! I placed a few in my overcrowded terrarium and the rest I pawned off on another naturalist!

I do have wild seeds to plant but not until the snow is gone…

 It wasn’t until I was reading about blue jays carrying up to five acorns in their mouths to bury each fall that I became aware that I had been hooked by the ancient seed pattern! – If the blue – jays are any indication nature has been planting seeds forever!  The animals do it in the fall – humans do it in the spring!

May the ‘seeds of the wild’ live on…

BIO: Sara Wright is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

8 thoughts on “Seeding Up by Sara Wright”

  1. Sara, the sanctuary you have created is so inspiring. I love this sentence: “I wanted to give back to nature what S/he had given to me. I wanted nature to be the receiver.” Such a beautiful and healing sentiment.


  2. Your post is such a wonderful evocation of how we should all walk, especially when we are in wild places, and the treasures we find when we do. It reminds me of Henry David Thoreau’s idea of “sauntering” versus walking solely with a human-made purpose and destination. So often when I walk in the woods near where I live there are people chatting or looking at their phones, or racing through on a bicycle, and paying no attention to what is around them. Because of how you interact with nature, you saw the seeds, which many people would have completely missed! When I saw your photo, I immediately thought of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and his magic beans that grew and grew and grew! Please let us know what your seeds turn into!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I walk (sounder!) through Nature with the eye of an artist, taking in as many details (especially unsual) that light me up with joy and are also inspiration for a painting. In my case, I take nothing from the forest; I am looking for “seeds” of inspiration.


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