Picture the scene.
You are walking through a field, perhaps an overgrown patch of land that hasn’t been tended for years and, in your hand are a few dozen seeds. Mixed variety, some flowers, others fruit, grass, it doesn’t really matter. And, as you walk, you scatter the seeds, randomly. Some will fall on rocks, others in places where grass or weeds are already established. You walk on, not following any particular pattern, meandering you might say. The wind picks-up some and carries them further, a few might even land on the next-door field or a garden down the road. You don’t know what will happen, you have no way of divining the outcome of your actions other than to wait. Time will tell. If you return too soon, everything will look the same, unchanged. You won’t know if birds or mice have carried them off – the ones you had hoped would most likely succeed in establishing themselves, for, isn’t it likely – if you had your eye on a particular seed, maybe one that looked especially healthy, a passing sparrow might have had the same idea. If you return in a week or two, you might see the occasional green shoot. You have no way of telling whether the sapling had anything to do with you, as, it might have already started growing before your arrival; it is hard to distinguish between one tiny pair of green leaves and the next. In the meantime, you have work to do; the scattering was likely only part of your overall duties – perhaps a one-off, perhaps this is you forever, walking through fields scattering. Alternatively, you might be called to do something different – drive a car, listen to music, hold a hand. The possibilities are endless. In part, this uncertainty is likely to distance you further from the original scattering, you will likely be distracted or too preoccupied by other business to keep check on any plants that have managed to gain enough moisture, sunlight and space, who haven’t been eaten, carried-off or failed to germinate. Time passes.
The field you first encountered many months before will have changed, as have the seasons. When you first stepped-out it was winter, then spring, and now, the beginnings of summer; the days are longer, warmer, you feel a little more optimistic about life in general; perhaps the pressure for survival has abated. You start to breathe more easily. The weight of winter and frozen months has lifted.
And you remember the field.
At first you were not sure where it was that you walked on that day. You can’t quite remember, so, you set-out to find that first place.
You can’t find it.
All around you are fields and gardens, trees and plants that seem different; the environment has changed, you have changed.
You don’t remember the nettles or other stinging plants, you see flowers interspersed with weeds of suffocation; you don’t see much fruit.
Some of the plants are healthy, growing into the light, displaying flowers, some with beautiful scent; others are twisted. Malformed. Not seeming to serve a purpose.
It is impossible to tell which are the result of your actions, which the children of your seed and which were already established before your arrival.
It is not an idyllic scene; it is obscure, unclear, unsentimental.
You cannot establish your place in the geography, and no one else is around to tell you, to explain where to go.
You feel very tired and decide to rest.
As it is warm, and the ground dry, you look for a patch of grass, somewhere free from thorns and stinging plants.
Across the way.
You bend to your knees and lie on your back. The sun is shining. The sky blue with only an occasional cloud.
You think of your field. You have no idea whether you are lying in your field or that of another, the seeds you scattered may have all failed to grow, others might have become flowers, others twisted, broken, most will likely have been eaten or died.
You consider your place in the world, in this field, and you feel your smallness.
You realise you are a seed. Planted without intention, scattered without schedule or security.
No one is around to monitor your growth or actions, or to return and check on you as time passes.
And, we are all seeds scattered by the wind, trampled underfoot or lifted by the sun.
And that is the lot of humanity, the passage of time, random decisions and optimism.