Next year’s promise

A reflection from Sherry Maddock, our Neighbourhood Engagement Coordinator and resident gardener.

I have always thought of seeds as a start, an origin point. Spring comes and it warms up and seeds embody the start of a season, the start of a plant’s life, the start of a relationship. Seeds are an enduring symbol of promise, something on its way in a very small package.

It wasn’t until I no longer had access to seeds (world-wide pandemic buying), that I went looking for them out in our Verandah Café garden. In search of future plants, I found both flowers and herbs with perfectly dried seed heads, waiting to be harvested. On this cold autumn day, I realised something for the first time – seeds begin at the end. It is not until the final stage of a plant’s life-cycle that seeds appear. Death prepares for life.

Thank goodness I found dried out flowers and pods standing ready to provide to the next generation a new version of themselves. Before I knew it, this errand of seed saving brought me hope. Hope and seeds are so closely related, the former materialised in the latter. Both promise something to come and contain so much unseen. Like hope, seeds hold time in captivity, demonstrating the power of dormancy and the wait for the right conditions.

For me, hope is a hard-earned present sense of longing that exists only for a future reality. Cultivated and experienced in the now, it is for something to come. A seed encapsulates hope – a tiny suitcase of goodness that unpacks itself in the future. Seeds are like genesis treasures; they have a priceless supply of life in exponential quantities, hosting all that is necessary for life to begin.

Today, in the presence of cold and tired plants, I witnessed the end of one life and the beginning of another. Life carries on through seeds. Seeds reassure us that we have what we need for next year.