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How chilli seeds are like dreams

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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My jalapeno babies – taken with my iPhone.

We all have different approaches to our dreams. Some of us love to write them out and draw up plans for how we are going to bring them to life. Others prefer to whisper them to the wind and trust that they will find their way to us when their time is ripe.

I'm somewhere in the middle. I tend my dreams much as I tend my seeds. In my kitchen there are 31 trays of seeds germinating. It is spring in New Zealand and now is the time for planting summer vegetables. This year I am watching over tomato, cucumber, summer squash, chilli, radish and fennel seedlings. As I have tended these precious trays of life I realised that I tend my dreams in very much the same way as I tend these seeds.

I prepare the soil of my life by digging over the rich manure (sometimes known as 'crap') of my past. The manure is richest and most nurturing for future life if it gets warm sun and oxygen. This means not hiding it away, being courageous enough to pay some attention to the manure of my past, digging through it a little and giving it a good turning.

The seeds of my dreams are then planted into the rich fertilised soil of my life. I choose my seeds carefully, listening deeply to my heart and trusting that it knows the right seeds to choose, even if I have no idea when or how they will sprout.

I plant the seeds with love, placing them at just the right depth below the surface of the soil. Too deep and they may not find their way up to the surface for the sun and light they need to survive. Too shallow and they might dry out or be picked off by a passing bird.

I place the seeds in a warm, safe place. They all like something different. The tomatoes like to be on top of my fridge where they are warm and get afternoon sun. The chilli like all-day sun.

My heart's seeds also crave different conditions for their germination. Some love to be in the light, shown off for all to see. My book dream is like that, when that wee seed was planted it stayed deep in the soil for a very long time until I moved it out into the light. As soon as I did it began sprouting. Other dreams sprout best in the shade, far from prying eyes or the possibility of judgement.

My seeds need daily love. When it is warm and sunny outdoors I carry all the trays out onto the porch so they can soak up the rays. As soon as the temperature drops in the evening I carry them all back in again. I feed them plant food, and water them lightly every day. I talk to them. Encouraging those that are peaking through the soil and congratulating those that are reaching tall.

I love them all equally, although differently depending on their needs. But I never really know when each of them will sprout. Some – like the golden tomatoes – sprouted within days of being planted. Others, like the habanero chilli – are only now starting to peak up through the soil eight weeks after they were planted. I have learned that these miraculous little seeds – containing within them all that is needed to grow the fruit and vegetables that will feed me this summer – know perfectly well when the time is right for them to grow.

Not until the days are just so long and the evenings are just so warm will those habanero chilli sprout. I could worry over them, hover over them, poke at them and wonder if I did something wrong when I planted them. None of it will make them sprout a day earlier. So it is, I believe, with my dreams.

I will prepare the soil of my life, I will choose and plant the seeds that my heart dictates, I will water and tend them every day. I will trust that they will sprout when the time is right. No amount of crying or wishing or hoping will make it otherwise. I will do my work and then I will trust.

With thanks and love to Andrea Scher and all the other dreamers at Mondo Beyondo

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7 Responses to "How chilli seeds are like dreams"

  1. Paris Parfait says:

    Beautiful analogy. Some dreams need more nuturing than others. xoxo

  2. I spend a lot of time tending to my children, my home, my garden.
    I’m slowly learning to tend to myself and my own dreams, realizing for the first time how truly important I am and they are. I really, really loved this. Thank you for sharing.xo

  3. Marianne says:

    Thank you. I have a post about the Journey to Jordan tomorrow. You still have some spaces right?
    Sent from my iPhone. Please accept my apologies for brevity or typos.

  4. Lu says:

    I tell you, one of these days, I am actually going to grow some veggies from seeds. I love this story you have woven about your seeds.

  5. Swirly says:

    Beautiful metaphors…and it makes me want to come over for a big salad!!

  6. Lala says:

    digging in the dirt…to find the places we got hurt.
    what a great read. thank you. enjoy the growing season! <3

  7. Tesni says:

    This beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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