I meant to post this a few days ago but had trouble with my web site, which I am still working through. My new year’s post will be up in the next couple of days.
One of the ways that anthropologists determine when a particular crop became domesticated is by looking at the thickness of the seed coats or casings. Wild seeds have a thick coat that protects the tender shoot during the cold, dark winter months between harvest and germination in the spring. When humans domesticate crops, they determine where to plant the seeds and nurture the young plants through the growing season—and they save and care for the seeds from one year to the next.
The tended seeds are not exposed to the same harsh conditions as wild seeds, and more seeds survive to be planted in the spring. Seeds with thinner coats sprout more quickly and overshadow those seeds with naturally thicker coats. The “wilder” seeds either don’t get enough sun and other nutrients or they don’t germinate at all. Over time, more and more seeds have thinner coats, showing evidence of human care.
All of this has me thinking about this quiet time of dark winter and the “seed coat” that protects my soul and my life force. Some of us have thicker “skins” than others, and whether that is advantageous for our growth and survival really does depend on our environment and the care and nurturing we get from others—our community.
In this time of reflection, I am wondering if my seed coat is thick or thin, if I am built more for pulling in to survive during the hard times or taking advantage of the warmth and growing quickly.