Seeds hold the memory of home.
They are intergenerational to more than themselves, connected to more than one kind of being.
Culture is a regenerative idea, dependent upon mutuality and place. Our native ecosystems provide the source of knowledge and sustainability, where we understand climate is about change—while seeds are about continuation, about resilience when change occurs. If we are always talking about ourselves, anthropocenically, we cannot listen to the singing.
Native plants express diversity over ecological transitions; many life-stages and untold interactions are necessary to complete the cycle from seed to seed, to extend the continuum in this world we belong to. Seeds may rest dormant in the upper soil profile, a biodiverse wonderland of sleeping and active beings, for many seasons, sometimes through many generations. If their blooms do not appear in time, moths, bees, bats, butterflies, birds—among the many migrating members of our habitats—will move on, seek what they need elsewhere, travel to the end of their known range.
Which is what one species, the human, has exceeded, traveling past what the rest depend upon to sustain the whole. The seeds may sleep, await moisture, soils conducive to sprouting, interpret the signals of their earthen community, but they are always aware of home. Their connectivity sings, teaching us to coevolve with other beings, to pay attention when our circumstances change, to know every part of our habitat and who visits us, to do no further harm.
There are so many kinds of beings, so many ecosystems and interactions, so many species of seed plants. If land-people had not paid attention in the thousands of years before our lifetime, growing gardens as a promise to new generations, contributing their understanding of what to gather and how to live among many, we would not be here.
Though humans may wake into another century, feeling themselves to be the agents of change, people are still connected to the resilient world. It is a great responsibility to engage in our collective biodiversity, to ensure the full cycle of our mutual continuation, to learn home as well as the seeds do, to follow the example of the land-people we descend from.
Thank you for being here.
Source: Sylvia Rains Dennis, 10 June 2019;
a contribution to the collection of recited "seed stories"
recorded in an interactive exhibit and collaborative project
by SeedBroadcast, University of New Mexico Art and Ecology,
and many others; opened at the Albuquerque Museum in 2019