All right, so we were talking about microfinance, right ? (good article here)…Before I got sidetracked by other reports…

I’ve been reflecting on something from  the site for Grameen Bank, the group founded by the Nobel prize winner Mohammed Yunos. The bank has these “16 Decisions” that recipients of their loans are supposed to sign on for- sort of their canon of ethics. You can read them all here.  

They’re really interesting, each relating to improving the community:  “We  will not live in dilapidated houses”, “We will not accept doweries.” “We shall not inflict any injustice on anyone.”  That kind of thing.

One of these Decisions has been echoing in my head for the last week as something somehow applicable to me both literally and as a metaphor.  I’m going to share it in case it will be of interest to anyone else, too. . It was Decision 5  which says:

“During the plantation seasons, we shall plant as many seedlings as possible.” 

How the heck  does this apply to me?

 Well, in the literal sense, around this time of year,  I always waste a lot of seeds. I don’t even get to the seedling stage.  I buy a seed pack, use five,  put the rest in a drawer and say I’ll use them next year. And then I never do; I just buy more. Well, yeah, on one hand, it’s a pack of seeds, so, big deal. But on the other hand, you know, it’s kind of like wasting food or mismanaging resources.  Practice what you blog, etc.

Even this year,  I was determined to plant a ton — I started with cantaloupe –  to compensate for the fact our soil is junk and most of what we plant dies. Last week, I still had half a pack of cantaloupe seeds but just four little  seedlings  in my room (because, really, where else do you keep your cantaloupe seedlings but in your bedroom?).  Waste.

 And I started to think of Decision 5…. ‘Why not?’.  Why not try to grow as much as you can?  If I have extra plants , I can give ’em away. Extra fruit this summer? Give it away. If I don’t want all the seeds, I can find someone to give them to. Plant all you can.

(Note: speaking of giving things away, I don’t even like  cantaloupe, but I wanted to plant some fruit and this is the only one that’s ever worked for me. So if any of you want some cantaloupe in a few months…Hey, Cantaloupe is a weird word if you say it a lot. Cantaloupe. Cantaloupe.  Cantaloupe.)

So, Decision 5 has inspired me to empty out almost all the seeds I had in my house . I don’t remember where I planted half the stuff. Should be interesting. But  I really like this idea of not wasting, of trying to grow as much as possible, of keeping in mind the potential good uses of what you grow.




(I ripped up all the grass inside the little  fence…Not quite 50 Carpenter St, but, we do with it.)


As for  metaphoric meaning….I’ve been mulling.  It’s maybe a little on the nose, or maybe it’s too much like one of those cheesy pay-it-forward bank commercials – but here it is: 

Every person has something  to offer the world whereever they are at any given moment. Plant a new idea, a seed of encouragement, or – think of these microloans, right?  You’re helping someone plant and grow a business.   Sure, we don’t always get to  see how the things we’ve planted  turn out  (a priest told me this once when I was starting as a teacher…) .  But sometimes, if we’re lucky,  we can look back and see the cantaloupes of our labor flourishing on the path behind us. Either way, “plant as many seedlings as we can” seems like good advice.

Speaking only for myself, I don’t always do this, metaphorically. Sometimes, there’s a legit reason. Other times,  I don’t  because I’m too lazy at that moment. More often, I don’t do something because I’m too chicken. If I try, I might get rejected or  fail.  ( Oh, no, not that….) .  These are actually the reasons I dont plant real seedlings, too, come to think of it…But when do you get any return from not doing the work or taking the risk. I need to plant more seedlings.  I’ve realized , in the perspective of my faith, these are some things I need to pray for some extra help with. 

 Hey, the Bible uses planting and farming metaphorically a lot, doesn’t it?  (Deut 8: 7 may be my favorite verse of the Bible…and I don’t even really like olives…or  read the Old Testament…what?!!). Anyhow, that’s me. Do with it as you will.

So, seedlings and microloans: giving a little to someone else.  A drop in the bucket.  See how it all ties in? 😉 .  I don’t know who I ripped off that drop in the bucket thing from, Becca maybe, but I sure am getting some mileage out of it.

And now, a parting thought:  ticks!  They’re  out there, people, and they’re disgusting, and they’re hungry.  So when you plant your seedlings, also  load up on the DEET.

And here it is now, your moment of twin:



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