A single red thread connects all those who are destined to meet, regardless of place, time, or circumstances. It may tangle or stretch but it will never break. - Chinese Proverb
A long red thread started working it’s way through my life on the day before I left for my Baja trip.
I was driving and listening – like all good Canadians do – to this CBC radio program. I heard an interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva from Delhi; a woman whose laser intelligence and passion came zinging through my little Hyundai speakers.
Shiva’s a farmer in India, or more correctly she’s an agricultural researcher, enviromental advocate and, oh yeah, she’s got a PhD in Physics and a degree in Philosophy and she believes that Monsanto is trying to patent and own what is our heritage and our right; the seeds and source of all life.
She is thick into a campaign called Navdanya, to save the world’s seeds because, “… the seed is the embodiment of life…the very source of life…seeds are the first link in the food chain and they are disappearing in diversity and disappearing in freedom.”
A little more red thread unspooled when I flew to Baja California Sur. This was an unexpected press trip with a focus on food, specifically Baja cuisine.
We met Elizabeth Ibarra Vivanco at her Fresh Bounty farm. I was once again struck by intelligence and passion as Elizabeth explained her organic strawberry farm using drip irrigation to conserve the precious desert acquifer water. She explained why education was the key to changing attitudes about water usage and local dependence on chemicals in order to create healthier organic and sustainable crops.
This is also where I ate the best sun-ripened strawberry of my life; a very red and juicy and life-affirming strawberry.
We met some other farmers. Carolen and Windspirit Aum grow all their organic produce for their restaurant called Wind and C. They are determined to use only sustainable organic methods. Unfortunately, the basil farmers around them are still spraying their basil with pesticides, often with the help of their school-aged children.
More thread wound out when I met an intelligence officer working for the U.S. Military. He’s been traveling around the world working on an assessment to determine ‘strategically important water basins’ and where future water problems might become acute.
This assessment was compiled using historical data. It factored in current climatic changes and used the (sad) assumption that most countries will not be changing their water policies over the next decade. The U.S. Military is very interested in this information, as future water-related conflicts could begin to affect U.S. national security interests. Drought combined with poverty and poor infrastructure leads to some serious instability.
The release of this assesment coincides with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s announcement of a new public-private program to use U.S. knowledge and leverage to help find “…solutions to global water accessibility challenges, especially in the developing world.”
My last night in San Jose, I turned on the television for the first time on the trip and saw a movie called Touch. Starring Keifer Sutherland, the premise of the movie is based on an ancient Chinese proverb, this invisible red thread of connection…
On the flight home I read an article in Spirituality & Health magazine. It was a parenting piece on how to answer a child’s question, “Where did I come from?” Rabbi Rami Shapiro says,
“Roll the dough (Play-Doh) into a big ball. This is Earth. With the help of your kids, pull mountains, rivers, trees, and even people up from the earth. Don’t pull them off and then stick them back on - that’s not how things happened. The Earth grew people the way a peach tree grows peaches; organically. Fill planet Play-Doh with as much life as you can imagine, and talk to your kids about how people grow on the tree of life, like buds grow on a branch.”
We speak about the ‘germ of an idea’, or planting a seed with a well-placed comment’ or letting something ‘germinate for awhile’.
Seeds & Water. Ideas & Connections. Synchroncity & Threads.
Our food, our ideas, our lives all arise again and again from the tiniest of starts. Seeds are the beginning of everything and every single thing is connected.
Every Being. Every form of Life.
You never know why you’re hearing something, seeing something or meeting someone, but sometimes if you look very closely you just might see a thin red strand connecting all those encounters.
Sometimes I feel like we’re all just hanging by a thread.