Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(Almost) Losing Seneca Pink Lady

This morning, I discovered why the mice have been so noisy in the night in my cabin in the woods. They have steadily and industriously stripped the seeds off the cobs of the Seneca Pink Lady corn and stored them in various places, including my suitcase. I have been cursing them nightly for their noisy projects, but Lord Ganesh, the Hindu god with the elephant head who removed obstacles and rides on the back of a rat, daily stays the hand of execution. My firm belief in the sanctity of life tells me that there is nothing more senseless than me destroying the life that carried on before I got here, and will remain carrying on long after I am gone. Little did I know that in my magnanimity, I was feeding them endangered heirloom corn!

I discovered this to my horror, this morning. As I picked out some clothes to wear, three kernels of pink corn rolled out of them. I ran, half naked, to the kitchen, and saw the now completely naked cobs of corn. I was already processing a tremendous amount of painful present and past emotional damage in my isolation here, and I don’t think devastated could really cover how I felt at this complete failure of my responsibility to these seeds. Trying to put on a brave face, I held the three remaining kernels in my hand and told myself it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. And how was I going to grow corn in my backyard anyway. Forget about it.

I then realized that I was feeling that the mice had taken everything from me and left me with nothing. This seems to be the story of my life, and a better allegory could not be made for my present emotional state. Through my tears, however, I realized that they had taken what they needed, and left me with what I needed. With great care and diligence, I could plant these three survivors and bring the corn back to plenty. Just like I had everything I needed to bring back—with great care and diligence--my own emotional life to plenty. I carefully wrapped the seeds and stored them in a safe place, promising that when I finally had the chance, I would plant them out and grow them (along with other endangered heirlooms) on the Trauger farm.

Feeling better, I finished dressing. As I dug through my clothes, I discovered dozens and dozens more kernels that had been carefully removed from the cob and laboriously carried to the bedroom and stored in the safe place that just happened to be my suitcase. Life is strange and wonderful when you just let it live. My furry friends had packed my share for me.

With hope and joy, you can turn anything around, and when you carry on, you will very likely find a lot more than you thought you had. I said a little prayer of thanks to Ganesh. And to those little noisy mice for taking care of themselves, and for taking care of me.


  1. Hey Amy - Levi, here, writing you from the depths of the UGA Geography building (where few plants grow). I just wanted to say I have really enjoyed reading your blog and am glad you still have some Seneca Pink Lady seeds! Best of luck with the rest of your travels

  2. Thanks, Levi! I am looking forward to coming home soon. Glad you like the blog. Keep reading!

  3. Hi Amy,
    I just recently came across your blog after meeting Winona LaDuke and hearing her share some stories about varieties of corn she was helping to preserve and grow.

    I am wondering, if by any chance, you might still be growing the corn and I if might be able to buy, trade, or barter with you for some seed, if you have any to spare?

    I work with people and plants from indigenous cultures to try and select and preserve our brothers and sisters with roots. My intentions are to see if the corn is locally adaptable in my region of the United States in New York.

    Thank you kindly for your time, thought and consideration.

    John Paul