“…How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for the early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.”
from Robert Frost's "Putting in the Seed"
It’s May; seedling time. If you are a gardener, as I am, this poem may speak to you. There is something ultimately loving and hopeful about helping things grow.
There are many ways - gardening just one - of expressing this pull toward life, generativity, nurturing. Some express it through child-rearing or service to others; some through painting, the culinary arts, or music; some write astonishing books, others, elegant computer code.
I read desire in the poet’s description of love that burns – desire that drives (pro)creation and yields something new. And though creative desire prompts action, it may be hobbled by vulnerability. To say “I want”, or, “I long for”, is to speak of the future. Of a state that is already here in some ways (in one’s heart or one’s head), and, yet, has not fully arrived. To desire the future is to live with uncertainty.
Our generative desires need nurture. Yet, how many of us withhold our own nourishment by saying, “I can’t”; “I don’t know how”; “I’ll fail”? This is where mindfulness practice comes in. When we notice our fear-based reactions, we have a greater chance of detaching from them - rather than running with them into the wreckage of the future.
Right action is as helpful as right thinking. Writers write each day. Painters paint each day. Singers sing each day. It’s the doing, not the doubting, that brings desire to fruition. It’s also in the asking, sharing and learning – with and from others – that we nourish our desires.
Take courage. You are the “sturdy seedling” and we await your birth!