This is the definition of “plant” according to the internet:
“A living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses, typically growing in a permanent site, absorbing water and inorganic substances through its roots, and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis using the green pigment chlorophyll.”
You buy fresh flowers at the market, often admire your neighbor’s geraniums, whiz by carefully pruned hedges, flowers, and trees on the way to work or an appointment, and spritz water on your ferns before vacation. Did you ever wonder how plants experience life, relegated to our sidewalks and yards as they are, in their sacredness, majesty and color? One afternoon I sat and experienced what it was like to be a plant in my front yard.
Just being is quite active.
Everything in life is eating other things. Lie next to a bed of flowers or in the grass one day, and you’ll see what I mean. Everything is eating, sampling, nibbling, poking, burrowing, climbing, vibrating, building, overturning…or relaxing. Plants get many visitors: tiny bugs and crawlers, bees, a rare butterfly, ants, spiders, and I’m sure I saw a dragonfly. These insects came to stick their little heads into the flowers for nourishment, or to sit on the leaves and rest, or to work. I noticed how the soil shifted, rich with life, alive with the many little insects and spiders roaming about, in and out. I wondered what that previously rich soil was doing underneath all our concrete and chemicals, and I realized we’re covering up life.
A small black cat decided to laze in some California oatgrass, and he formed a cushy indentation. The poor grass was bent and misshapen from his ritual, which seemed to be a daily routine. To the right, a puffy squirrel shimmied nervously down the tree and disappeared over the wall just as the mail carrier came tromping up. He smiled and commented on the weather as he stepped in some dry leaves. The gardeners came soon afterwards and waved their deafening leaf blowers.
The men swept and blew, raked, cut, trimmed, picked up, hoisted, dumped, and watered. And then they left. It was silent again with just the breeze whispering through the leaves, the sun shining on the freshly watered grass, and a chirp of the smallest bird.
As I was taking in this quiet moment, I heard the garbage truck arrive. I saw a pretty hummingbird flitting back and forth from one tree to another. I realized that this hummingbird was building a nest. It built this nest on a branch by my front door that was neither too high, nor too low; it wasn’t too exposed, nor too vulnerable. This serious bird flew off and came buzzing back, building busily and skillfully, with its fast wings. The branch on this tree was there in stillness and held a quiet invitation for this nest. The tree didn’t repel nor seek out this bird, but it simply supplied a safe branch.
Plants have diversity, personality, and tragedy.
There are a variety of trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers next to each other. Weeds have endurance, tenacity, and are invasive. They like to take over. Lavender offers sweetness and a pale, violet beauty that attracts bees. Jade is prolific, hearty. I’ve been told that jade is good for Feng Shui. Some plants have bigger leaves, others have small ones, some offer shade, others are exposed, some are prickly while others are round.
Like all creatures, there are those that seem healthy, young, vibrant, others look worn with tears, holes, and pale leaves. Plants have been moved, cut, planted, replanted, seeded, trimmed, and exposed to temperature, wind, and rain. They’ve been overrun by weeds, been sat upon, walked over, nibbled by other creatures, and over and under watered. The plants endure with their beauty, in the sun, in the rain, waiting for the next encounter.
I doubt if any dislike each other, or judge, or get irritated by, say, one that has bigger leaves than the rest.
I don’t think a precious pink flower is jealous of the bright purple desert plant across the way, but I could be wrong. I’ve read that plants like music, and they respond favorably to kind words and unfavorably to hurtful words; indeed, they do have preferences, likes and dislikes, and an emotional world. We all feel a sacredness when walking through a forest, or other green environment. Plants, like animals, offer serenity and peace, and are essential to a clean environment.
These plants in my front were placed there, on a whim and a purchase, and so they wave about, sharing soil and light, air, sun, microorganisms, bees, birds, various visitors, and our noise. There they rest, exposed to environmental moods and temperament, just being, and very much alive.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Claire Weber/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo Via: Wikimedia Commons