Are the seeds contemplating their future, as I am?


We are coming to realize that plants do have an organ similar to our mammal brain. This organ is connected to a nervous system of sorts and capable of sending out signals that cause action in other parts of the plant. In plants, this central organ is located within the roots – underground.

Of the immature parts found in a plant embryo, within a seed, the root is what emerges first, at germination. Of course, in that case we are talking about an embryo. Although we know that brainwaves do occur in mammal embryo brains, we cannot imagine them having complex thoughts, such as are involved in plans for the future. More likely there exists a kind of dream-like state, fuzzy and developing, stimulated by physical changes of various kinds from outside the womb/seed coat.

Well, if the seedy embryos are uncertain about their future, so, in fact, am I! Winter often finds me wandering around in a daze, feeling as though I really should just go back to bed. This feeling was exaggerated this year, as I contemplated the fact that we have laid out a draft five-year succession plan for the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary seed collection – after which it will cease to exist in this form.

 Only five years in which to complete so much work to make the collection ready to be passed down to the next generation? I really do need to go back to bed.

I’m already far behind on the documentation of all the varieties, since that really is not my area of expertise. It is just too easy to spend more-than full-time hours gardening and educating, which are the two main ministries of the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary. However, over the coming years it will be necessary for others in the broader Kingston community to take on these ministries to make way for Providence Village. They can only do that if they know clearly what value exists in this seed “collection” (I like to say population!)  as it has been generously stewarded here for over 15 years. That value must be carefully documented so that it may be shared with the community – and, of course, funded by them.  

“The inescapable is before us” as Thomas Berry says, and I must engage my groggy root-brain to prepare for the future. It will not be easy. It is not within my comfort zone. Thomas Berry says: “[W]e are, at the present time, in an exodus moment. We must carry this off. We need the sagacity, as well as immense energy, to find our way into the Ecozoic era…There are sacrifices to be made. There is the discipline. There is the spirituality. There is a divine meaning in the process. If we do not perceive the sacred nature of our journey, then we will not be able to bring about the salvific transformation needed. We need to appreciate especially the real dimensions of what it is to be a member of the sacred community in this larger sense of the term.”

We need to break our roots out of that seed coat and germinate!