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Friday Feature: Seeds of Love

Micaceous Seed Pot Side View

At long last, we were able to begin planting yesterday. Yes, late June is unusually late for us — but over the last two years, seasonal temperature and weather has arrived similarly late. The alfalfa in the south field froze a few weeks ago, a casualty of a sudden return to nighttime lows well below the freezing mark. Closer at hand, the air has been too cold, and the earth too hard, to nurture vulnerable seeds.

Until now.

We will continue the planting process today, working around high heat and heavy smoke and what is likely to be a series of sudden midday squalls. The Three Sisters — corn, beans, and squash — potatoes and carrots, varieties of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, an assortment of peppers, chile and otherwise, and a number of herbs that we use for cooking and for medicine . . . all these will be added to the land here. We have for some time now had wild strawberry and raspberry plants; the latter are flourishing, fast turning into a small patch. And while many of our wildflowers are perennials, already blooming, we will add to their number in seed form in the days to come. The flowers that grow naturally here attract the bees and the dragonflies and the butterflies and the hummingbirds, turning this space into a refuge for at-risk species crucial to our ecosystem.

From its description in the Other Artists:  Pottery gallery here on the site:

Micaceous Seed Pot Top View

Keep your seeds safe and dry in this perfectly-shaped little seed pot by Benito Romero (Taos Pueblo). Great for storage in the cold months, and useful for dispensing seeds during planting season. Made of the Pueblo’s local micaceous clay; 3″ high by 3.5″ across at widest point (dimensions approximate). Top view shown below.

Micaceous clay
$65 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This small, unassuming little pot has always been one of my favorites. No, it’s not at all flashy; indeed, the finish is slightly rough-textured, the only sheen that from the mica within the clay itself. It’s such a perfect little orb. No, not an exact sphere, but a sphere wouldn’t be much use for seed storage; it would tip over and spill the contents. But held in one’s hand, it’s very nearly spherical, flat on the base but with a roundness to the body that feels intuitively good to the touch, and that serves its purpose exactly.

And that purpose is another reason why I’ve always been so fond of this piece. Yes, the ollas hold water; the wedding vases and the stepped bowls are aesthetically beautiful and symbolically important. But this small pot holds life itself, the gift of renewal for the earth, of survival for us. And for peoples who still survive against all odds, it’s as significant metaphorically as it is literally.

It’s a way of storing up resources for future use, even for the benefit of future generations. And in this way, it becomes representative of so much more than corn kernels or beans  or squash seeds or any other tangible germ of life: It’s a metaphor for our ancestors, our histories, our cultures, our languages, our very ways of life: each of them, too, a series of seeds planted to sustain the next generations, the gift of life itself, of love.

In our way, all seeds are seeds of love.

~ Aji





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