Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pretty flowers

It's late but around here the first round of flowers are popping out, which inspires me to write a little bit. After dispersing their seeds last fall the flowering plants of the region went into a long dormant period to wait out the bitter winter, which was especially bitter this year. Finally the temperatures climbed and day night cycle progressed to a point that triggers the complex mechanisms in plants to start a reproduction frenzy. This frenzy relies on a symbiotic relationship between many species, all dependent on each other in a balance achieved over thousands, millions of years, depending on the species. The birds arrive from their long journey, to eat the insects that just hatched out to feed on the nectar of the spring flowers, who in turn use the insects to achieve their own reproduction in the form of transported pollen from one flower to another, or in some cases from one part of the flower to another......that is, the ones that are not cut and placed in a pot of water on the table in someone's house. Let's take a look at this practice for a moment. Our view of other life forms is not consistent and tends to be hypocritical. Put this practice into another scenario, with a different species......

We are taking a lovely hike along a marsh and we come across, let's say, a family of beavers. The young are just getting old enough to strike out on their own and reproduce. We get excited and comment on their beauty. We are very interested in their testicles. Particuarly the largest, most fragrant balls. After we have selected the biggest ones, we chop them off. We also take some other notably large, smelly balls off a few other beavers. We bundle a bunch together in a hand and tuck a few in behind our ears so we look pretty and then we take them home with us. When we get home we put them in a vase on the table and smell them occasionally for maybe a week, at which point they shrivel up and we just throw them out. Meanwhile that beaver never reproduces.

Well that isn't so harmless anymore is it? Is it wrong? I don't know. I'm just a human, but I'm going to tend to say it is. I mean, what is the point? So back to my point.....our view of life. A person will not think twice about ripping off a plants reproductive organs for no real gain but that same person might practice a vegan diet because they don't want to harm cute, furry animals. They would harm one for nothing more than aesthetics but refuse to cause harm to the other, even to feed themselves. Why is it that the life of an animal is worth so much more than a plant to us? Again, I'm just a human, but my thought is that life is dependent on death and harm to others. Without it, life does not happen. However, like with most things, I think the real answer exists in the happy medium. A reckless ignorance toward life and uninhibited exploitation of it is an obviously bad path but sheltering oneself from a basic function of life on earth is also not healthy. The happy medium, or mediocrity that exists in the natural world is one where death is apart of life, but only for the purpose of sustaining another life. Not for a pretty dinner arrangement.

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