Seed gathering Sunday
Question: When is the best time to plant a tree?
Answer: 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
For today’s material, I am grateful for Rachel Summer’s book ‘Wild Worship: discovering God through creation’.
Planting trees is an exercise in patience, Rachel reminds us. We plant for a future which we may or may not see ourselves, but we hope will benefit others, including perhaps our children and grandchildren. The seeds we gather today may be from trees which started growing before we were born. Rachel says, “All those tiny creatures that will have a home and thrive and multiply because of your tree. All the restful green beauty in the summer, and stark bony beauty in the winter, that you’ll be providing for the eyes of future generations. The shade from the sun and sudden downpours.”
So here’s the plan –
· You are invited to go for a walk somewhere there are trees, and look at their seeds and nuts. Maybe you will find acorns from oak trees, conkers from horse chestnuts, amongst many other types. Here is a link to a simple identification guide, if you would like one https://images.app.goo.gl/azP3FFpaHgsJ6KuC7
· Place your hands on the trunks of the trees and give thanks for all they have given you over the past decades, and given others whom you don’t know
· Choose some seeds that you would like to plant, and bring them carefully home. I know we usually try not to disrupt our landscape in Forest Church, but hopefully there will be plenty of seeds left behind, and you will be planting these baby trees in areas where they might not otherwise have the opportunity to grow
· Once you are back at home, hold a seed in your hand and imagine the potential held within it. Imagine the tree growing through the years, the weather it will see, the animals it will shelter, the people who will enjoy looking at it, the oxygen it will create. Perhaps you might like to pray a prayer of thanks to God for the potential held in small and unassuming places. Pray for the lives the trees will touch, unknown to you now.
· Use an old newspaper to create plant pots for sowing them in. Fold the sheet of newspaper in half. Place a baked bean tin or similar at the folded end, and roll the newspaper around it. Turn it on its end, and tap it, squashing the protruding newspaper underneath it. Carefully slide the tin back out, and fill the newspaper pot with soil. You could pack a few of them into an old ice cream tub to make it less messy when you water them. Plant a seed or two in each pot, label them, and put them somewhere cool over the winter to grow. Next year, you can plant the baby trees for your very own rewilding project. NB: there are lots of things to consider when choosing the site for your planting, e.g. proximity to buildings, rivers, power and pipelines, etc. Maybe we can have another Forest Church session to consider that in early spring!
Once you have planted your seeds, you might like to read this passage from Genesis chapter 1 in the Bible together –
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
One final idea – look at this poem – do you think the poet has deliberately written it in the shape of a tree? Or is that just my imagination? Perhaps you might feel inspired to create your own piece of art or poetry.
by Karen I. Shragg
Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.