I met a seedsman once called Keith.
He was looking round the garden of our community,
a bleak place, high in the hills, and exposed to winds.
We had a conversation I have since forgotten,
but in the middle of it he dropped this inelegant seed:
‘If you planted more trees you could create your own micro-climate.’
It was skilfully done, Keith: quietly, no fuss;
you weren’t even looking at me when you did it.
What did ‘micro-climate’ mean anyway?
The seed sprouted in me and took root;
I read books on shelterbelts, I talked, and planned;
I researched grants, and visited tree nurseries.
A little later we planted six hundred small trees.
A lot later they are flourishing larger trees,
with accompanying micro-climate.
Now, the other day, I met an enthusiast,
a woman full of heart-felt plans to improve the world.
She pushed them at every opportunity, and beyond.
I felt like she was taking a spade to my mind,
and trying to plant full-grown shrubs in there.
Naturally I resisted.
Shrub-lady, you should learn from Keith.
Be a skilful seedsperson:
examine the environment carefully,
select the right things to say at the right time,
drop them in quietly,
move on to the next piece of ground,
have no expectations of recognition or success,
feel satisfaction in the doing.