When we’re challenged by hard times—environmental, social, personal—nature can offer valuable lessons on how to endure. In her book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, about growing up in rural Georgia, Janisse Ray describes the life lessons she learned from a pitcher plant.
“The pitcher plant taught me to love rain, welcoming days of drizzle and sudden thundering downpours, drops trailing down its hoods and leaves, soaking the ground. In my fascination with pitcher plant, I learned to detest artificial bouquets of plastic and silk. Its carnivory taught me the sinlessness of predation and its columns of dead insects the glory of purpose no matter how small. In that plant I was looking for a manera de ser, a way of being—no, not for a way of being but of being able to be. I was looking for a patch of ground that supported the survival of rare, precious, and endangered biota within my own heart.”
We don’t have to travel to remote, exotic places to find great teachers. They’re everywhere—in the back yard, the city park, the night sky, even in our house plants or in the ladybugs who have a knack of suddenly materializing on the window ledge. Their lessons are direct, subtle, and often surprising. Spending a few minutes hanging out with a “being” from the natural world may give us just the boost we need to keep going.
- Pitcher Plant: Park Seed