Seed: I wonder where it is right now.

hand-seed

A seed knows how to wait. Most seeds wait for at least a year before starting to grow; a cherry seed can wait for a hundred years with no problem. What exactly each seed is waiting for is known only to that seed. Some unique trigger-combination of temperature-moisture-light and many other things is required to convince a seed to jump off the deep end and take its chance— to take its one and only chance to grow. A seed is alive while it waits. Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the three-hundred-year-old oak tree that towers over it. Neither the seed nor the old oak is growing; they are both just waiting. Their waiting differs, however, in that the seed is waiting to flourish while the tree is only waiting to die. When you go into a forest you probably tend to look up at the plants that have grown so much taller than you ever could. You probably don’t look down, where just beneath your single footprint sit hundreds of seeds, each one alive and waiting. They hope against hope for an opportunity that will probably never come. More than half of these seeds will die before they feel the trigger that they are waiting for, and during awful years every single one of them will die. All this death hardly matters, because the single birch tree towering over you produces at least a quarter of a million new seeds every single year. When you are in the forest, for every tree that you see, there are at least a hundred more trees waiting in the soil, alive and fervently wishing to be. A coconut is a seed that’s as big as your head. It can float from the coast of Africa across the entire Atlantic Ocean and then take root and grow on a Caribbean island. In contrast, orchid seeds are tiny: one million of them put together add up to the weight of a single paper clip. […]

In the laboratory, we simply scratch the hard coat and add a little water and it’s enough to make almost any seed grow. I must have cracked thousands of seeds over the years, and yet the next day’s green never fails to amaze me. Something so hard can be so easy if you just have a little help. In the right place, under the right conditions, you can finally stretch out into what you’re supposed to be. After scientists broke open the coat of a lotus seed (Nelumbo nucifera) and coddled the embryo into growth, they kept the empty husk. When they radiocarbon-dated this discarded outer shell, they discovered that their seedling had been waiting for them within a peat bog in China for no less than two thousand years. This tiny seed had stubbornly kept up the hope of its own future while entire human civilizations rose and fell. And then one day this little plant’s yearning finally burst forth within a laboratory. I wonder where it is right now.

~ Hope Jahren, Lab Girl 


Notes:

  • Photograph:Katherine with Mmm.
  • Related Posts: Lab Girl
  • Inspired by: Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Comments

  1. this is wonderful. never give up hope. patience. wait for your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure why this moved me to tears…it’s thinly veiled message inside the magnificence of its weight. I don’t know, I just shake my head and wonder.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The wonder and the plans our Mother has made for us and even within us. Thank you Mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing David, just amazing! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sounds like my teaching career. grin.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Miracles never cease. This is fascinating information. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous says:

    Evidently I am not yet ready to fully bloom ~

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How sweet. And makes me realize we are really lucky. We have endless chances to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: