Flowers, Ecology

I seem to have lost a day somewhere, due to how difficult sleep has been and my days stretching out into thirty or more hour segments.

What I think of as “yesterday,” but was actually Friday, we walked for a little while in a beautiful garden. It reminded me of English gardens, the sort with tall hedges and fountains and areas of grass. Except the hedges were made of flowers, many different kinds of flowers, growing and woven together.

I stopped to look at one that reminded me of a daffodil. It was more graceful, with long petals curling gently around a smaller trumpet. He said, “Pick it, if you like.”

“But I have no nails,” I protested. “I’ll hurt the plant too much.”

“Here.” He reached past me, mildly amused that I worry so much about plants that I won’t even pick flowers, and plucked it himself, putting it behind my ear.

I retrieved it and looked at it. The bottom of the stem was closed. I looked up at him in confusion and he moved some of the vines, showing me the same thing on the original stalk. “The [word for the type of flower it was] is fine. And that will not wither, so long as you wish to keep it.”

“But how did you–”

“Plants. Harvests,” he said blandly, with an expansive gesture.

He was teasing me. Without hurting me. That is a very rare occurrence in my life coming from anyone but Brand.

“You know that a rose will not bloom well unless it is pruned regularly, and that old flowers should be removed from plants you wish to keep blooming, and any flowers at all should be removed from a plant that you wish to expend its energy on growing rather than flowering,” he continued, in his ordinary tone of voice.

“Yes.”

“And there are many plants that should be shaped, lest they grow spindly and unwieldy.”

“Yes.”

He threaded his arm through mine. “Some people make an art out of that all on its own. A third of an herb or plant can be removed or harvested without damaging the plant; it will keep growing. You needn’t worry about a single flower, Shannon. Particularly when you pick it with care and reverence for the plant and what has made it grow and produce something so beautiful.”

“I just like flowers to stay on plants, because they don’t die in a vase,” I said, still looking down at the flower, and feeling silly. People have always found this stance ridiculous. “They’re still beautiful on the plants, even if I don’t have them indoors to look at all of the time.”

After looking at me for a long time, he quietly said, “You are very kind. Even to things to which few people are kind, few people notice, few think of.”

“They’re alive. They’re real. Just as real as anyone. Being human, or whatever, doesn’t make someone better than anything else that is alive. Only different.”

He drew me close, kissed my forehead, and held me very tenderly. “And you wonder all the time why I love you so. Please keep the flower. May it remind you of this.”

“I will.” I leaned against him, tired suddenly, from the weight of carrying that around with me for so long.

From being thought a complete idiot, and yet persisting in caring about anything that lives, and even things that don’t live, in a sense that most people would recognize. Rocks, for example. I feel so hurt and sad sometimes when I see beautiful crystal clusters that have been mined. And mines themselves, for any reason, fill me with grief when I see them. I used to live somewhere where strip mining was common.

Then I lived in a place that was heavily forested, and watched over five years as the trees were all cut down to build subdivisions. It always made me want to cry whenever I passed places that I knew used to be forested, and I wondered what would happen to all of the deer, if they would be all right, or able to find a new place to live. “Too sensitive,” people always said. “It’s just trees.

Yes. Just trees. Which live hundreds of years, and some can live for thousands of years, sheltering and part of an ecosystem where lots of things live. All sorts of things. And things go extinct because “just trees” are clear-cut in huge swaths of land. Plants and animals.

Farming enabled human civilization to flourish, and now there are so many of us that we are destroying everything because no one thinks past tomorrow and the money they can make or the power they will have.

The genetically-modified plants built to withstand heavy spraying with pesticides, the insects that die from the pesticides, the people whose health suffer from the pesticides, the land that is poisoned.

The response to germs with antibacterial everything, the handing out of antibiotics for everything, which forces the bacteria to become stronger, creating worse diseases. We’ve managed to create a strain of tuberculosis that is resistant to almost everything. How proud we should be of our accomplishments.

How much we can rejoice in seeing how many things we’ve driven to extinction in the last 200 years and the dwindling, pathetically small numbers of other things still left in the wild.

Too sensitive, because it all matters to me. And basically evil because I think the world would be much better off if we all vanished, or reduced in number severely. Terrible because two people producing 15+ children completely horrifies me and I can’t understand why they’re so incredibly selfish. Really terrible because I wish most people wouldn’t have more than one child.

Now I live in a place historically only rarely hit by hurricanes, but now getting hit twice in the last few years, the last time being incredibly destructive. People I know lost their homes and businesses.

“Climate change is a myth.”

I’ve seen the climate change.

The future scares me.

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