As I stared at my growing stack of books yesterday, the ones full of important ideas I should stuff into my brain, I was distracted by my seedlings. I planted seeds just five days earlier and all were sprouting. Some were meant to go directly into the ground but, just for kicks, I stuck a few beans and corn kernels in the soil plugs, in addition to a variety of herbs and tomatoes. Ever since I started this activity a few years ago, the seemingly endless grey, rainy season in the Northwest has been more bearable.

It’s often said that the best things in life are free, or at least don’t cost that much. This can’t be more true for sprouting seeds indoors. It’s cheap entertainment. Aside from a few bucks for seeds and seedling mix, all you need are some containers and a sunny window. Lifting up the plastic dome each morning is like peering into a living jewelbox. Got bored kids or kids glued to their electronic devices? If I hadn’t had anything else to do yesterday, I would have been happy to stare at my Italian romano beans growing. Below is what happened over five hours.

Today the sprout is four-and-a-half inches tall. I have corn growing right next to it. Corn! I couldn’t have imagined corn growing in my suburban Maryland neighborhood where I grew up. It makes me wonder what other unquestioned, limiting ideas I have.

Though I get immense pleasure watching the simple, but profound, life span of a minescule seed turn into large, red tomato, I can’t help but wonder if that giddiness is a sign of too much of a lack of it in other corners of our lives. Most of us know the delight we get from the simple and the unexpected. So why is it that we continue to plan for the complicated?

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