“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” —Walt Disney Company, Mulan
The Power of a Dream
On September 18, 2007, Randy Pausch, a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, gave a compelling presentation, The Last Lecture: Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams. Randy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had less than a year to live. His one-hour speech was a YouTube sensation, leading to interviews, talk-show appearances, and a New York Times best seller, The Last Lecture. Randy beautifully articulated a legacy and planted it in the hearts of millions around the world. His lecture wasn’t really about achieving your dreams; it was about living your life. It’s worth an hour of your time.
The Power of a Hope
Walt Disney built an empire on the power of childlike imagination. When You Wish Upon a Star is ranked number seven by the American Film Institute in their 100 Greatest Songs in Film History. When Jiminy Cricket croons that chorus even the most jaded adult gets a little misty-eyed. There is something resonant there—no matter who we are, dreams can come true.
The Power of a Seed
On the island of Svalbard, 810 miles from the North Pole, the Norwegians built a doomsday seed vault. It is designed to preserve an emergency supply of seed in the event of a global catastrophe. There are a number of seed banks around the world. The largest is the Millennium Seed Bank Project in West Sussex, England, which was built as an insurance policy against plant and fungi extinction.
In February 2012 a National Geographic article reported on a 32,000-year-old seed’s germination. Apparently an Ice Age squirrel forgot, or was unable to recover, his stash near the Kolyma River in Siberia. The seeds, which were locked in permafrost, had been damaged and were unable to self-germinate. Scientists were able, though, to extract viable plant embryo from some of the immature seed and germinate a 32,000-year-old perennial.
The oldest mature seed ever germinated was a 2,000-year-old Judean date palm found while excavating Herod the Great’s palace ruins in Masada, Israel. By March 2012 it was a 2.5-meter flowering sapling.
Dying to Dreams
Seed has an amazing capacity to regenerate. Within that dry, hardened shell lies a dormant embryo that reproduces and adapts through the generations to the environment. It’s the stuff of life. But to give life, the seed must die.
The Resurrected Dream
Dreams are like that. They germinate within our young eager hearts and bud into fragrant hope-filled blooms. Those blooms often wither in life’s toil and bury their seed in our disappointment. And on some hopeful spring, sometimes decades later, they blossom in startling profusion.
There is a time to dream and there is a time to die to dreams. There is a time to mourn their passing, and there is a time to renew them once again. Dreams never die—but sometimes they lay dormant through long, and dark, and weary winters.