Time for Planting


One of my favorite stories in Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself is the chapter called Planting Seeds, about planting fava beans, in which I defend my ignorance in planting them upside-down! The last line of that story is the theme of today. It bears reprinting: “I marvel at the potential for everything to grow, even when planted upside down. A seed doesn’t need to know it is a fava bean. It just does a quiet somersault and keeps growing.”

Today I’d like to share a poem I wrote a few years ago, called “In Praise of Ferns.”

Spring is here!
Listen to the ferns
unfolding in silk
stocking legs
stretching to sky
in quiet resurrection.

They are the whispering
fairies of the underbrush,
tickling last fall’s leaves
as they push up towards the liquid
song of the hermit thrush.

Myself a part-time hermit
in the underbrush of healing,
I seek these sights and sounds
in the forests of my mind
finding new tendrils
among old roots.
I hold one
gently as a baby’s finger
unfolding green on green.

The giver and the gifted
are never very far apart,
but like a fallen leaf,
we mortals bend with gravity
towards the underground
forgetting we are born
of both what’s lost and found.

It takes a chosen pause of step
to reconnect, relearn and remember
that, like the natural impulse of a fern
we don’t have to push hard
to grow through almost anything.

–Eileen Rockefeller

May the unfolding in you add spring to your step. I have found that unfolding is not so much about straining, as holding a clear intention, and allowing.

What is unfolding in you?

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9 Responses to Time for Planting

  1. Elaine Naddaff says:

    Hi Eileen, Your poem is wonderful, revealing your celebration of planting and plantings. Your inner world and poetic voice see light and sing praise to nature. I am reminded of one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams. I loved the multifaceted sides of his being. He was a poet at birth, a
    medical doctor by training, schooled at University of Pennsylvania’s Medical School and a true lover of nature. Look up the poem “The Daisy” by Williams. Good luck on your garden. By the way I saw a program highlighting the heirloom seeds of one of the Du Ponts. It is, truly, amazing that seeds from generations, ago can be revitalized and sold for “lucra”!

    • Dear Elaine, I love W.C.W.! Thanks for this reminder, “The Daisy.” I will definitely look it up. Did you ever read his poem about taking plums from the ice box? So filled with gratitude and humor both.

      • Elaine Naddaff says:

        The poem you are referring to is titled “This Is Just To Say”. I, too, loved that poem because he just had to say he had just eaten the plums in the ice box. I interpreted his poem, as an extension of his vitality, descriptive and thoughtful.

  2. Tonja Ali says:

    Hi Eileen,
    I love the way you ended with the thought that unfolding is not so much about straining as it is about holding a clear intention and allowing. Brilliant and True! Sometimes we believe we really are the “creators” instead of “co-creators” of our own destiny. I know I get confused sometimes. (Smile)
    Thank you for that statement – just reading it caused my chest muscles and shoulders to relax instantly.

  3. Anita L. Royer says:

    Yes, an inspiring spring poem you authored, Eileen. Thank you, as I sit
    here waiting for winter and summer tires to be switched over, wishing I was
    outdoors instead. Your poetic images are so vibrant and wonderful!

    And I do believe that even 10 minutes of meditation
    in the morning is a spring tonic for the unfolding process.

  4. I agree with you Anita. Meditation is a great tonic for unfolding.

  5. Louise Gilbert says:

    Dear Eileen, thank you for posting “In Praise of Ferns”—a most memorable and beautiful poem that has such depth and magic! I love the imagery you bring forth from earth, to growth, to soul. As for me, I am in a constant state of unfolding and since I do not have a garden at this time, I seek out other gardens in nature and in friends lands and gardens. This coming Sunday I will help friends at Eat Well Farm prepare for their public strawberry picking day. I am bringing them your poem……….your poem provides me with a wonderful portal on the wonders of spring and of life itself! Happy Spring my friend.

  6. Dear Louise, I’m so happy you found my poem to be of use with your Eat Well Farm and am honored that you are sharing it with them. So typical of you to be helping others in their own unfolding, be it an organization or an individual! Happy Spring to you!

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