I love planting season. Starting seeds is about what we will have to eat this year, in some part, about beauty or medicine or flavor or mini environments and ecosystems, in the rest. It is also about creating systems that support plants growing in a way that they need to thrive.
I like the simplicity of plants. I like the complexity of plants. I like the chaos of plants. I like the order of plants. Plants create relationships and communicate with each other through chemicals released via rhizosphere and transported via soil fungi and through chemicals they release in the air. That is pretty amazing, isn't it? I like to think of plant communication more like our music and art than our speaking. As a synesthete, I see music as colors and wavelengths based on the tones and some sounds are perfect and clear colors along lines and others are more like sizzles or spots. Planting plants together that are together in the wild or that benefit one another makes me feel like they are experiencing a clear singular connection and do better together than alone. I imagine those threads of life under the soil creating this amazing network of life and microbia and electrical connections.
So when planting season gets underway, I feel like every plant that goes Into the ground Is an opportunity to create something not only nourishing, and beautiful, but also doing something underneath our feet that is improving and changing the very nature of what exists where we are right now. Every time we plant something, the soil, the insects, the earthworms, the chemical components and minerals change.
I am dreaming of sunshine and blue skies, warm sunshine, and green grass. But I am also dreaming of planting the plants In the ground. The trees, bushes, bulbs, food. The native plants In the woods and the prairie plants In the field. The food plants In the little beds, and the flowers around the fruit trees. Every plant is a step in creating a new soil and making things different from what we have and having the faith in plants to know what they will become - this summer, next fall, in 5 years, in 20 years, in 100.
I love driving through rural Wisconsin. You can tell where farmhouses used to be even in empty fields where no house stands anymore. Rows of lilacs all in the windbreak line, and the big wavy leaves of rhubarb. We leave something behind every time we put a plant into the ground, and we are changing things one way or another. Above and below. I wonder if someday someone will drive past my old abandoned house, and see a row of crooked and heavy laden fruit trees, and a woods lined with medicinal plants, and wonder who lived in that place. I hope my children stay here, though, and talk about the summer we planted that peach tree, or started that linden, or put that monarda into the soil. I wonder if my hair, my skin, my bits and pieces that come off me every day become a part of that plant that I touched and carefully put into that little hole.
We leave pieces of ourselves everywhere we go in our actions, our interactions. In our art and music and words. In our children. I am reminded of this every planting season as I dig a hole and plant each and very plant. Thousands of times I repeat - dig and plant. It makes me think of what I am trailing behind me in my wake every day, and if it is changing what is beneath for the better.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculture designer, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.