A few months ago, Arpita, my friend and colleague here at TCC, handed me four packets of seeds for my birthday. Carefully gathered from her garden and the plants that cross her path wherever she wanders, they were retrieved from her seed bank and packed into hand-labelled paper envelopes. Other than micro greens that have sprouted and grown of their own accord on moistened paper towels, I have never grown anything from seed. Offerings from my mother’s garden over the years have been in the form of cuttings of the moss rose or spider plant—all above ground and visible to the eye when it came to tending to them. So it was with a mixture of guardedness and anticipation that I received my present of seeds: What if I drowned them with over zealous watering? How long would it take for the shoots to emerge? Would they germinate at all?
Over the next few days, every morning, my feet would find their way to the window ledge that I call my garden to peer into the soil for some sign of activity. Ten days later, mid October, the first shoots emerged—curved stems and a hint of bright green tendrils pushing up through the soil. Each day, I watched as oval leaves of the Marvel of Peru or Gul abbas plant unfurled from branching stems, vigorous, abundant. I began tracking their growth from shoot to tubular-shaped blooms in colours of pink and white, witnessing too the renewed hope and sense of generosity and largesse it was bringing to my life in a particularly tumultuous time. In the complex simplicity of a seed, there was reassurance and a re-establishing of connection in a world where so much disconnection abounded, making me feel more at home inside my body and on this earth. For those few moments every day, I felt grounded.
In an interview with Emergence Magazine, Seed Keeper and farmer Rowen White, says, ‘What that comes back down to is an honouring of origins, an honouring of what I call intimate immensities. A seed is so big and so small at the same time […] When I go into spaces to teach or to share a story, I oftentimes bring seeds and food with me, and there is a palpable sparkle in people’s eyes and a joy that people get when they gather up a handful of these beautiful seeds. I think it reminds them of what’s possible.’
When I think of think of what we’re confronted by in the world as we know it, whether it is the climate crisis at a planetary level or closer home, a narrowing of boundaries and blinkered notions of belonging, this reminder of the beauty of diversity of seed feels all the more powerful. Listening to White, I find comfort in the evocation of what’s possible, of the potential it carries—the hope, much like a seed. In its intimate immensity is a call to action to re-remember our connection to the land, to body and community.
As another year rolls around, we hope you’ll take pause to look at what you are seeding in the year ahead, and how you can choose to practice everyday acts of intimate immensity. We’d love to hear from you about what shape and form this takes in your life, so do write to us. May the New Year bring much gentleness and support as you journey through it.