An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of September 29, 2013
issued from the Frio Canyon Nature Education Center
in the valley of the Dry Frio River in northern Uvalde County, southwestern Texas,
on the southern border of the Edwards Plateau, USA

COMMUNING WITH MUSTARD GREENS

mustard green seedlings in cotyledon stage

Two days after sowing mustard greens in our new raised beds, already little sprouts were up, each plant issuing its first leaves, the cotyledons, shown above.

The largest seedling there is only 3/16ths-inch across (5mm). They're sown too close together because as they grow I thin out the smaller ones, eating them. It almost looks as if each seedling bears four cotyledons, but really each single leaf is notched at its tip, causing it to look like two.

It's amazing how clean and shiny each little plant is, arising from dark, musty, crumbly soil.

On the seedlings' first morning, for a good while I sit next to the beds just looking at the plants, letting impressions such as that about clean, shiny plants arising from dark, musty, crumbly soil, seep into me. It feels as if Nature is imparting some kind of wisdom or statement of confirmation to me, something I can't put my finger on, but something obviously powerful that roots me in a nurturing, motherly kind of way.

As the moment develops, it grows clear that those shiny little cotyledons are the plants' solar panels being deployed to gather sunlight energy for fueling the next spurt of growth, the issuing of leafy stems from between the cotyledons. I visualize the Sun 93 million miles away erupting energy that floods through space, rains onto Earth, and a tiny, tiny, tiny but absolutely necessary and expected bit of that energy falls onto these cotyledons exactly where and when it's needed, some splashing on me, too. Green plants, blue sky, dazzling sunlight, me sitting on brown soil that feels cool and moist, the morning's fresh smell, dew on grass, things functioning perfectly.

And I, too, am fueled by sunlight. For, the energy that keeps me moving and thinking comes from plants I've eaten, who gathered their energy directly from the sun. Even the eggs and cheese I eat brings into me sunlight energy originally captured by plants who produced grain and herbage the hens and cows ate.

The Sun gushes energy, and Life on Earth blossoms, me along with it.

On a moist, fall morning, blue sky, baby mustard plants, old bald fellow sitting on the ground, sun blazing, sunlight flooding, the dawning insight that as the Sun is just one star in an unremarkable corner of a mediocre galaxy randomly placed among 176 billion other galaxies in the Universe, some kind of higher-level emanation and reception is taking place right here next to the mustard plants, a crystallizing spiritual insight structuring itself like photosynthesis and rooted in the Big Bang, and whatever accounted for that.

What a thing that baby mustard greens facilitate such thoughts, yet, in the end, I'll simply eat them, and proceed to the next moment. Facebook Icon