Feature Article

What Comes from the Earth — Reflections on Writing, Farming and Surrendering to the Unknown

“I will never get tired of watching seeds grow,” said one of the women I recently interviewed for the closing pages of my book. “It’s such a miraculous thing.” I felt my head nodding along with the gentle rhythm and meaning of her words. I envisioned a tiny seed in darkness, splitting its cask and unfurling a green wandering thread, hungry, searching for light.

My mind dwelled on her choice of word: “miraculous”. Growing food, indeed, is a miraculous process. Particularly in a day and age where environmental, socioeconomic, and political factors — what forces shape the way we cultivate seeds and what comes from the earth — have never been so uncertain. Farmers pull from scientific, experiential, ancestral, cultural, and even spiritual wisdom to make choices on the land: what seeds to sow in the earth, when to plant, how to plant, what materials to mix into the soil, what tools to work the land with, which rituals to perform, how to irrigate, etc.

But much of farming, of sowing seeds, is about surrender, waiting and acceptance that some seeds germinate, while others — based on both known and unknown influences — do not.

Patience and surrender.

These are two farming traits I’m trying to embody these days. Not as a farmer, but as a writer.

[Read more]