Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grow Dead Grow

From the wheelbarrow of soil (Frog Log 3/5) to the tower of seeds (Frog Log 3/10), we now have little seedlings starting to fill the flats. Here is the beginning of our salad mix; these are all flats of baby lettuce seedlings.

A few nights ago I woke up with the words "grow dead grow" running through my mind. Kind of ominous when I write it, but I really didn't feel too bothered at the time. It was a weird night, but it reminded me of our very first greenhouse at the farm. We took the side off the old south-facing chicken coop and tried to figure out how to give the plants a head start. We probably didn't have much in the way of heat; I can't really remember - it was so long ago and I was so clueless about the growing process.

We weren't really based on the farm much in those days -- still trying to pay for it by working in town. So, not surprisingly, a cool night came along in early spring and we either didn't notice or weren't around to place the plastic covers over the seedlings, which were about the size of those in the photo above. The next morning we sadly viewed the results of our neglect - dozens of baby plants laying flat, having obviously succumbed to a killing frost.

We stared - and stared - incredulous that our work and hopes could be erased so quickly and absolutely. And as we stared, something moved! Or did it? Yes, that plant lifted off the soil ever so slightly! And then another one -- and another. Holding our breath, we watched as the tiny seedlings started to revive in the warming sun.

At that time, and I remember writing, we were sure we had witnessed a miracle. Now, though hopefully not jaded, we know more about the resiliency of the plant kingdom. Luckily for us, and for the planet, a desire and determination to grow is encoded into every living thing. Conditions may be challenging, harsh or downright impossible, but each plant will try its darnedest to adapt and thrive.

And the plant kingdom in the northern climes will experience a massive recession and regrouping throughout the winter months. As temperatures plummet and snow blankets the ground, the plants take their necessary rest, magically awakening to the springtime's first warmth. The cycle repeats itself each year - grow in summer -- die in winter -- grow again in spring.

And that's why I wasn't so upset by my dream. It's Spring -- the cycle continues to spin. We had "grow"; we're almost done with "dead", and we're on our way back to "grow"!


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