Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Having faith, sowing hope

Four years ago, some friends began to restore several acres of prairie near their country home. This summer, as we walked the paths they'd cut through their prairie, Big Bluestem waved above our heads, the alien-looking seedpods of Rattlesnake Master peeked out closer to the ground, Yellow and Purple Coneflowers, and Wild Bergamot added bright color to the landscape. My friends urged me to come back this fall and gather seeds to spread in my own prairie. At the time, they didn't know that they would be leaving their prairie behind.

But by the time I went to gather seeds, they were packing their house for a move into town. As I walked through their prairie this time, capturing the seed heads of Sideoats Grama, Compass Plants, and a number of plants I liked but could not identify, I was overtaken, stopped in my tracks, by what I can only describe as homesickness.

My friends leaving their beautiful prairie. The coming winter. The inevitable march of time. I wanted to grab hold and keep it all in place. Hold on to what I know instead of facing the uncertainty of the future. I couldn't, of course, and I walked on, gathering seeds until my hands could hold no more.

This week, I took the seeds from my friends' established prairie and scattered them throughout my beginning prairie. Even with only a few months of prairie restoration experience to my credit, I have faith that some of those seeds will take hold - maybe next year, maybe the year after - and fight their way through the crabgrass to sunlight. My friends' prairie gives me hope for what mine may look like years down the road.

In sowing those seeds, I did what humans have done since the beginning of time, having faith that some action taken now will bear fruit in the future. I am satisfied knowing that a little piece of my friends' prairie will live on in mine.


  1. "I wanted to grab hold and keep it all in place."

    Oh, I hear you.

    After barely surviving our first Iowa winter last year, I am dreading winter. I winced (OK, cried) when I noticed the leaves changing ... in August already!

    But there was one perfect morning last week. I passed someone on the way out of school and said, "I want to keep this morning in a bottle so I can pop it open in the middle of January."

    We transplanted some wild prairie roses in our yard, so we're curious to see what (if anything) comes up next year.

    Here's to sowing / planting hope. ;)

  2. I think that in years to come what you sow will be beautiful. It reminded me of walking through my grandma's garden and realizing that someday she wouldn't live there anymore. She offered me coral bells and lilly of the valley. I'm so glad I took them because now she is gone and her home has new owners but a piece of Grandma's beautiful garden is here with me in my yard.

  3. This fall has made me particularly melancholy, for some reason. But I do my best to focus forward. I have my mother's blue flag iris, my sister's 'Grandma's lily' hostas, and now my friend's prairie seeds. They help me hold on to the past and look to the future at the same time.