“…intimate immensities. A seed is so big and so small at the same time.” – Rowen White
Recently, I found myself apologizing for our front yard to a first time visitor. “If only you had come in September before the last of the blooms and before the frost,” I lamented. The pizzaz of yellow sunflowers bursting against a blue sky are now brown seed heads on leaning stalks. The aster that shimmered in purple blossoms skulks in a disheveled heap. Our entire pollinator yard looks like a weedy jumble, until you bend close to the starry center of a seed with the nearby flourish of lesser goldfinches plucking their winter sustenance.
I’m struck by the expressions that show our disdain for this time of post-blooms. “Gone to seed” suggests a person or a place has lost all sense of tidiness, hygiene, physical care, or good looks. “Seedy?” I see a crafty, unethical, grasping character not to be trusted. Why do we have such disdain? Perhaps it’s the way our culture tends to value youth over age or to glorify gaudy fashion over earthy practicality.
Clearly, I’m guilty, too, for this apology for our own yard gone to seed, even as I know how I revel in the birds that hide and feed in layers, the unseen hibernating insects, and the promise of new life in spring.
Yesterday morning, I decided to venture out with my camera to honor all that is past-bloom, as I would when the flowers blazed and hummed with bees, and this is what I found– the “intimate immensities” as described by Rowen White, a seedkeeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne.
“When we begin to strengthen the seeds, the people inherently become strengthened themselves,” said White on the Emergence Magazine Podcast (note the “pod” in podcast is the holder of a seed that may germinate in the listener’s mind). While she referred to the seeds of plants that feed us directly, the truth holds for all our native plant seeds that sustain pollinators that are essential to our foods and to an interwoven planet.
With my camera lens focused on seed heads, I opened my eyes to constellations of such sensual beauty that I will let them speak for themselves below.