Posts Tagged ‘seeds’

As spring draws to a conclusion, the last of my dandelions have fallen apart helped by a sudden gust of wind from an open window.  I wonder what the summer will blow my way.  Meanwhile here’s a gallery of the dandelion images.  FYI, the folks at Talking Writing Magazine paired some of the images with an essay by Fran Cronin about a mother letting her daughter go as She’s Leaving Home for college.  An excellent read.  Check it out.  Meanwhile have a good Thursday!

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Would you believe I was restless this morning?  Probably the two cups of strong coffee.  I could not settle down to work with words or images.  Finally I began picking through a box with writing from years past — letters never mailed, musings, unfinished stories, etc.  I forgot to date the paper, but I expect the following piece was written around Father’s Day nearly fifteen years ago.  I probably wrote it while sitting on the back porch of my childhood home in Virginia.  After reading the words, would you believe I felt grounded?


The sun shines bright and a cool breeze blows.  Spring has not yet arrived but I feel the change in the air.

Spring arrives and yet my father’s vegetable garden lies fallow.  Let it rest as he now rests.  His long journey has ended.

Let the land rest.  Rest your head, child. Sit still for it is the day of rest.  A verb that is used so often.  What does it mean, to rest?

A rest in music. A rest between words on paper.

To let your heart rest …

Resting seems scary somehow right now.

If one does rest, is it possible to pause for too long?  If so, what will quicken the heart, the spirit?   Will it be the sun’s rays, a cool breeze against bare skin, a lover’s lips?  Perhaps a bird’s song.

What if there is no breeze, no sun, no lover?

There are plenty of birds, though, even in the empty garden.  I suppose there are still seeds there beneath the earth.

What are those seeds doing there?

Well, I suppose my father would say that they are resting.

Yes, resting is what he would say.

The seeds are resting in the arms of the Earth awaiting their chance to grow.


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It was a delight to receive an email from graphic design artist and photographer Cindy Dyer earlier this year.  I had “liked” a post on her beautiful blog and she had visited mine in response.  She liked enough of what she saw to invite me to include my essay, Seeds, in the Spring 2013 issue of her digital magazine, Celebrate Home.  The issue is on newsstands now, so to speak, free to download and print issues can be purchased.  Seeds can be found on page 95 but I encourage to check out all of the writing, imagery, and recipes to found in this lovely publication.  And you can check out Cindy’s blogs via the following links:  http://www.cindydyer.wordpress.com/ and http://www.gardenmuse.wordpress.com/

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I had picked the two dandelions while walking home in the rain.  The seed heads were wet but still intact.  They looked like rain-soaked baby chicks, all spiky and glistening.  I remember my goal that day was to get the stems home and photograph them before they fell apart.  A piece of black slate formed the background.  I’ve yet to sort through the photos.  I was surprised to see the next day that the seed heads had not disintegrated but had in fact puffed up.

When I showed them to a small friend, who’s big into science these days, I started to describe the dandelion anatomy.  But when I tried to talk about the seeds and the “parachutes” that allow them to sail across the sky, my little friend became quite adamant.  “No, no, no,” she said. “These are fairies and the white, wispy parts are their wings.”  We stared at each other for a while and then I said, “Well, my dear, let’s go set some fairies free then.”  She cupped the dandelions in her hands and we went in search of an open window.

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sunflower seeds

sunflower seeds sprouting in a shallow pot

an impromptu salad

place spinach greens on a plate

add sliced grape tomatoes and radishes

pick sunflower sprouts and drop on top

sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt

drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar


(and plant more seeds)

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Once upon a time, I sat in my father’s arm chair while my parents sat side by side on the neighboring couch.  I’m not sure how this seating arrangement happened.  I do remember that in the big chair I was loudly sharing my knowledge of the world.  With each proclamation my parents just nodded or said, “Mmmhmm.”  So I felt completely affirmed in my beliefs, right? But then at some point in the conversation, they denied my request to do something.  I stood up with all the wrath and righteousness of a fifteen-year old and said, “You can say that now since you think I’m a baby, but when I’m 99-years old …”  My mom interjected, “When you are 99-years old, you will still be our baby.”

That story keeps coming to mind as I show pictures of my brother Keith to friends. They are used to my stories of a little boy who planted a seed in a cup.  Or stories of the little boy I used to send to collect dandelions in our empty Easter baskets.  When they see pictures of the small boy now a man who towers over most people, and of the child now a father, they always exclaim, “I thought you said he was little?”  I just shrug and say, “He is little.  He’ll always be my little brother.”

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You know those cards that have the seeds embedded in the paper?  Well, a friend gave me such a birthday card a while back.  I’m sure it was meant to be planted outside but I tend to grow things indoors now.  And so I tore up the black-flecked purple card embedded with wildflower seeds, and pushed the paper beneath the soil of a planter or two.  I’d almost forgotten that I had done such a thing and then one day I noticed in a pot of marjoram, new green growth of a different hue. Wildflowers!  Still, I did not think that they would grow very much.  But the spring sun worked its wily ways and one day I peeked into the hallway where the pot does sit, and this is what I saw.

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With Father’s Day approaching, I decided to post a “reprint” of a story I wrote that appeared a few years ago on the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature website.  



In elementary school, my younger brother and I participated in an activity where we were given seeds to plant in cups. Over time the seeds sprouted and tiny house plants grew. At home, when my brother discovered that the neighbor’s maple tree helicopters littering our yard were in fact winged seeds, he decided to replicate the school activity.  He planted one seed in a handful of soil in one of the small white Styrofoam cups that our dad liked to use for coffee.

My parents were supportive of his effort, though not at all positive that he was doing anything except making a cup full of mud.  But, green shoots soon sprouted up through the soil. When the sapling outgrew the Styrofoam cup, he planted it in one of Mom’s large clay pots.

My brother was only about seven years old with the attention span of gnat. We all expected him to forget about the tree, to let it wither and die once the joys of watering it faded away. But he didn’t lose interest. He watered it. He moved it around the yard to catch the traveling rays of the sun.  He dragged it under the house during rain storms.  When a branch was accidentally broken, he applied a field dressing of black electrical tape which saved the budding limb.

Dad was fine with the tree until my brother wanted to transplant it from the pot to a fertile area near the vegetable garden. He tried to explain to us that the roots of maple trees spread ferociously. We heard the words but we didn’t really understand. My brother wanted to replant his tree, and I supported him. Mom sided with  us.  “Let him plant the thing. See what happens.”

Over the years we watched the garden shrink as the tree grew magnificently, with a trunk so wide I couldn’t wrap my arms around it, and a canopy so broad that it shaded half the back yard.

One day I saw my father looking up at the tree, lips pursed.  Then he looked at my brother’s head thrown back, face beaming as he looked up at his tree. My father tipped his cap at the tree and sighed.

“Come on,” he said to my brother. “Get inside and wash your hands.”

As my brother dashed by him, my father patted him on the head.

Nearly thirty years later, the tree is gone and so are my parents. My brother is grown and not especially inclined toward gardening.

But recently he did call me. He’d gone to the store to buy gifts for his girlfriend’s two young daughters.

“What did you buy?” I asked.

“Little gardening gloves,” he said.

And I could hear the smile in his voice.

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