The amount of time I spend contemplating the fresh seedlings in the starting tray would probably irritate an action oriented person. I would likely have some difficulty explaining to that person the wonderment of seeing the first set of leaves emerge, or the excitement of watching the tiny shoots develop from delicate strands barely hanging on to life to healthy plants ready to withstand whatever circumstances bring.
Starting plants from seed is especially rewarding when you know what the plants will end up looking like, when you see, for instance, a proud six foot delphinium in that wispy and uncertain bit of greenery that at this point could be just about anything. When they first come out of the ground, most of the plants look exactly the same: two opposite leaves with no indentations on a gangly stem that can snap under its own weight.
So, I wait for the second set of leaves to emerge, and those are nothing like the first, and I’m excited to finally be able to tell the tomatoes from the peppers and the calendulas from the marigolds without having to read the labels, which have faded by now from the humidity under the lid of the starting tray.
I scan carefully for the little tell tale grains of dirt that look like they have been thrust up, and gently move them out of the way to find disappointment when they are covering nothing, or joy when they have been lifted out up by the rounded head of a sprout pushing through.
Days pass and the barely visible threads turn into straggly plants under my very eyes. A more action oriented person would, right about now, lose patience with all this navel gazing; after all they’re just plants, as far as life is concerned it doesn’t get any lower than that, what is there to look at?
Meanwhile life’s little miracles keep going, undeterred by having been relegated to the status of lesser life forms, churning up new growth and stretching their necks towards the window to get their fair share of the sunlight.