Your ten square feet of personal potential

Charlotte Gill writes in her book Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe:

If you dig out ten square feet of dirt from an old-growth forest, you might find embedded within it a thousand seeds.

One thousand seeds.  In ten square feet of soil.  “Seed rain,” Gill calls it — a veritable downpour of seeds from trees of all ages and lifetimes and locations lying together in the forest floor.  Some of these seeds have fallen from the forest’s current occupants — the trees that stand above and around and about right now.   Others are from trees long gone; these seeds have lain dormant in the soil for decades — sometimes centuries — just waiting for the exact right conditions to come along so roots can burrow and shoots can grow.  Still other seeds have been blown, carried or otherwise transported to this patch of soil by winds, animals, weather, water or myriad other circumstances.

Only a tiny fraction of these seeds will actually germinate, Gill suggests.  But what a beautiful potential they together represent.

Perhaps, like that ten square feet of soil, we too are a bed of seeds all waiting to take root and reach skyward.  But maybe, in contrast to the trees, we don’t have to wait decades or centuries for the right conditions to finally come along.  Maybe we can create those conditions ourselves.  If we water our soil accordingly, our potential for growth is virtually limitless.

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