Tonight, it’s all about seeds. Outside the cold rains of November fall, the hardwood trees stand leafless in their elegant bones of trunks and branches, and the garden holds only hardy greens, stalks of milkweed and sunflowers. A rogue daisy blooms at the side of the road, having emerged through a thick carpet of golden brown beech leaves, but otherwise the plants have said their good-byes. Or have they? Seedpods of Oriental poppies and Nigella stand in the grey light protecting their tiny seeds for a while longer, while sunflower heads offer final kernels of summer sweetness to the local birds that gather at the feeder nearby.
Inside, warmed by the woodstove, we cut up pumpkins to steam for muffins and pies, enjoying their (toasted) seeds, as we shuck and sort through the harvest of dried beans, marveling at the perfection of a bean or seed- the final gift of any plant or tree, the promise of new life, the potential for next year’s garden crops of food, flowers and herbs. We grow an heirloom Italian bean that a friend gave us years ago. Each fall we gather the bean pods and place them near the woodstove to dry fully, then break open to find the perfect, beautiful treasure of the seed-beans within. It’s like magic! The following summer we plant more of these beans and gratefully watch them grow and thrive, offering us an annual bounty with each passing autumn.
And so it is with our herb seeds; many we gather ourselves~ Baikal skullcap and Red Sage along with old favorites of Echinacea, Butterfly weed, Sacred Basil and others.
We may think of seeds as the grand finale of a plant’s life, yet what appears to be an ending is also the beginning of another life to come. The circle of life continues. In these long dark nights, we can rest in the soil of our own actions of this past year and ponder the seeds we have sown- of caring and support, sharing and tending what is important in our lives. And dream of other possibilities our hearts call for in the seasons to come.
Wishing you beauty and warmth, joy and meaning in these late autumn days,