This essay was originally written for MOLD magazine Issue 5: SEEDS. You can read the original publication here.
Seeds are capsules of potential: packets of the raw materials needed to generate new life in an uncertain future. In the flinty, aspirational way that only evolution can design, the seed anticipates unwelcoming conditions, competition and a long journey before finding a safe haven. Biology, in its timeless struggle with our unyielding and stoney planet, has hedged her bets with the generosity of plant reproduction and the support systems wired into every seed. Nature knows that fertility and habitability are transient states on Earth, and if those conditions existed once, they will exist again. Nature’s expectation is not that every seed will fall on fertile ground, but that by investing nourishment and shared strategy in a diverse multitude of seeds, the seeds themselves may potentiate fertility.
Long before mammals appeared on Earth, plants and their seeds ruled. That is, in a literal, evolutionary sense, human societies evolved amidst an established world of plants, learning from them and creating wisdom from what plants revealed. In the palms of worried people, fearful of a future in which scarcity determines how we support others, how we plan our meals, and how proximate we are to death, seeds begin to resemble precious stones to gather and save. Through their biological programming and co-evolution with the human experience, humans may also view seeds as blueprints for building livable futures. As society trembles at the threshold of a dark corridor, seeds may teach us how to lovingly persist.
Photo Credit: Model making by Oliver Tate. Photography by Studio Romain Lenancker.
To document interesting ideas about science and nature and reflect on the experience of being a scientist from the margins.