The Ancient Modern

Rocks and Seeds /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

This morning, I saw myself as a man whose task is to separate stones from seeds.

Some cataclysmic event of my past, perhaps of a cosmic past, has caused the beautiful lake of my life to dry out. The bed of the lake is left exposed and littered with debris.

Stones and seeds of many sizes, shapes and colors are scattered together. Some of the stones are beautiful; some of the seeds are quite uninteresting. Some stones and seeds are nearly identical.

My task is to discern the seeds and bury them so they will not be crushed, lost or blown away before the rain returns. I can’t waste time being delighted over the beautiful rocks, because they are lifeless. And I can’t reject a seed for its plainness—for some of the ugliest seeds may become the most beautiful of trees.

1. Ignore the stones / lifeless things.

2. Find the seeds and plant them / things that come to life under the right conditions.

[Am I planting them in myself? Is the coming rain some kind of death? Does death wash away everything impermanent and bring life to everything eternal? Is this a task everyone should be doing? How will I know if I’m a good judge of what things are really seeds? Is it fine to appreciate the beauty of the stones while I look for seeds? Is there someone or some thing to teach me the most efficient way to find seeds and the most secure way to bury them?]

There are some who contend that economies are built from stones, fashions are inspired by stones and wars are fought with stones. Seeds, they say, are unreliable, soft and impermanent. I’m sure some of these people laugh at me for my interest in what they consider valueless.

But, though others trade with stones and throw away the seeds, I can only keep to my task with the hope that its ultimate wisdom will be revealed.

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2019 by Joshua Alan Sturgill

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