I’m still in the zone. The back of the package says the ideal planting time  for giant sunflowers is between March and July. Well, what’s left of the package. Having ripped open the package to commandeer some of the seeds to be pasted in a half inch deep niche at the end of an altered book, I’m loathe to squander the rest.

My garden-themed altered art journal has been a work in progress since 2003. I felt an urgency to finish it but lots of unaltered pages remained. Too many to want to paint with yet more favorite flowers. My solution was to a cut  a two inch square hole in each of the final seventy-five pages, glue the pages mostly together, fill the recess with Elmer’s glue, and sprinkle sunflower seeds over the glue.  A thick book abounding with flowers now ends with an emphasis on seeds. Sometimes metaphors become art.

I’m at an age when thoughts of legacy are occasional companions to stage of life issues. They’ve companion-ed me a bit more lately because I’ve recently come to the end of a long tenure of teaching classes on art and spirituality for Buildabridge International’s Institute for Art in Transformation. Desiring sustainability for my work, I had hoped to find someone to pass the mantle to, but I have an odd combination of gifts and finding that someone hasn’t happened so far. I wished it had been otherwise.

But only for a short while. As the Institute progressed I encountered people who told me how much something I had said several years ago had meant to them, or another person who shared that she considered me a mentor, or another who was grateful that she was able to take the last class I would be teaching, or another who sought me out to tell me all that she was doing with some of the art activities she’d learned from me. Pretty humbling stuff… It slowly dawned on me that legacy isn’t about knowing that one’s work will be carried on by others, but trusting in the unknowing simplicity of generously planting seeds.  

Edna Schank, as a junior high art teacher, planted seeds that I might become an artist. A young man offering to let me jump off a cliff on his hang-glider planted a seed that I could take risks. A small catatonic girl sitting alone in a hospital foyer planted a seed about pursuing a profession in the healing arts. Banner-maker Jean Cross planted a creative seed in me through my weekly enjoyment of her banners at a church where I worked. Elizabeth O’Connor planted a seed in me about my vocational call through a question asked in her book Journey Inward/Journey Outward. Esther de Waal planted spiritual seeds that I could encounter the Extraordinary in the ordinary.

I am certain none of these people ever knew they had planted seeds. They couldn’t possibly have a sense of legacy, but have it nevertheless…simply in the generous planting of a seed. They were in the zone.

Who has unkowingly planted seeds in your life? What kinds of seeds did they plant? What difference has it made in your life? If you were to draw a picture of your seeds in bloom, what would your picture look like? Who are you in the zone for?

Looking forward to your comments about planted seeds.

4 comments to Seeds

  • Every time I pass the Oxnard plain with it’s soil plowed up like dark chocolate, I pray that God will make my heart like that soil, nutrient rich (Oxnard’s top soil in some places goes to 60 feet, some of the richest in the world). I want a nutrient rich plowed heart to receive the seed of God’s Word, through it’s pages and through the lives of others.

    My heart has been the rich recipient of seeds of truth regarding identity, seeds of hope, seeds of love.

    Recently I twittered a simple sentence,

    I asked a flower if blooming was most important. she blushed. “no,” she said looking down. “making seeds.”

  • cynthia thomas

    my grandmother planted many seeds that have carried me through adulthood. she always read “the little engine that could” when i had a sleepover. i remembered that story often as i struggled to recover from a stroke. she always had a positive attitude, even about past tragic events in her life. i strive, even today, to maintain a positive attitude about my life, even when i don’t understand the whys. her relationship with god was intimate & sure. today i seek that same type of relationship with god.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    There is a woman named Margaret Rose who posts responses on Inward/Outward on a regular basis. She sorts of serves as an epitome of spirituality for me. I can ponder, and do so daily, over the pieces posted on I/O, and think I have finally come up with something noble, or at least clarifying for me, and then read Margaret Rose’s response to the same piece, and find the perfection that is beyond my capabilities.

    I have PTSD, and often find myself stuck in intrinsically knotted situations, that I can’t find my way out of without another “pair of eyes.” I purposefully keep people around me who can give me what I refer to as “magic words”. I allow people into the recesses of my mind/my emotional/intellectual being, to the point that enables them to find clarity in the strings of my thoughts that become wound upon one another, so that they can bring words/thoughts/feelings to me that I can only clamber towards.

    Recently Margaret Rose commented positively about one of my responses. She made my day, maybe even my week.

  • Ms. Thompson, for taking the time to encourage me, the new girl in her 3rd grade class, to keep drawing and writing, and for helping me speak up for my friend that got picked on. My choir directors for making music seem like more than a dream. Pastor Ron, for opening my eyes to needs in the world. D-Mac for making me see myself as a capable leader, and being family to me. Dr. Jenson for calling me a mature and compassionate woman, and for listening. Molly Jenson, for giving me an example of how to take chances and use singing to make community. Danielle, for making me believe I still have it in me to bring people together.

    Lynne, so glad to get to read this post. I might just have to do an art project on this. Congratulations on completing the book. I watched the video interview of you and Maria and Barbara, it was a pleasure to hear you speak about legacy there, too. Truly, a pleasure.

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