Seuss and Sensibility
Two years ago during Lent on each Wednesday I discussed a book written by Theodor S. Geisel. Today is his birthday (post humorously) and I can think of no greater writer to discuss when it comes to knowledge than Geisel, or Dr. Seuss as he is better known.
In “Horton Hears a Who”, Dr. Seuss introduces us to universal citizenship, a theme common in all the Horton books. Horton hears a voice coming from what looks like a speck of dust. Dust usually doesn’t speak so Horton investigates and learns that size does not matter. Horton discovers that the tiny speck lives in a very small world, a world he does not see but one that exists that same as his big world does. He realizes that he doesn’t know everything and that the possibilities and potential of the universe are endless. He also comes to understand his role as caretaker and wise citizen of the world in which he lives. He realizes he has a role of responsibility in life.
Any gardener will tell you that everything you plant is not going to grow. I was not born with a particularly vibrant green thumb and almost half of what I plant becomes avant-garde artwork on the canvass of my yard, not lovely beautiful plants. Interestingly enough, I have the best luck with the smallest of seeds, tomato seeds. Spend a quarter and buy a pack at your local dollar store and then open them on a damp paper towel. They are miniscule! One cherry tomato plant, the little tomatoes, can produce 10-15 pounds of tomatoes. A regular size tomato plant can yield up to 30-40 pounds of tomatoes. All that fruit (Yes, tomatoes are a fruit that we consider a vegetable due to their nutritional value.) can come from that one little tiny seed!
Of course, like Horton, we must look where we are going or, in this case, where we are planting our tomato seed(s). Starting them indoors is ideal but I have just messed up the soil outside, tossed some down, and had them grow. [This comes from the woman who does a good job of killing even the weeds in her yard!] Key is the soil, watering, and the temperature after you plant the seed(s). Horton heard a voice and knew regular specks of dust don’t talk so he should take care and investigate. His caring was the seed that allowed the Who to live, just as the gardener’s care allows the tomato seed to live. Horton could have heard the voice and not cared. He could have seen the dust and swept it away.
A seed will only grow if it is in the right soil and cared for in order that its purpose might be revealed. As we strive to grow in knowledge and self-knowledge, we need to remember that we often place ourselves in environments that are not conducive for our growing, our personal development. From one little seemingly speck of dust, Horton heard a voice that opened up the possibilities of the universe to him and his role in it. A mighty faith can grow if we are wise in where we plant ourselves. Invite some friends or family over and celebrate the miracle of multiple pounds of tomatoes that come from that one little seed. I hope you find that your communion of loved ones and nature will yield you a bountiful Lent as you grow a better self.
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! Happy new day to you!