Animals do not commit suicide. Why is self-harm a uniquely human trait? I’ve been elbow deep in the dirt this Spring delicately and thoroughly extricating a robust variety of wheatgrass that is threatening to take over my garden. I feel murderous each time I tug out a shoot, but I also marvel at the plant’s seemingly ever-consistent will to live. I marvel at the complex root systems these little grass shoots weave just beneath the soil. Some of the roots are a meter long with offshoots every two inches!
Suddenly I hear a wail of despair. “Call 911!” My neighbour’s son overdosed on fentanyl. Another neighbour had a naloxone kit and brought him back to life. The son’s father recently passed away and he found the opioid eased the pain of grief. It seems that tightrope between life and death is a place of great pleasure for a lot of people. My father died testing the limits of that line in 2020. Why do plants work so hard at living while we humans act like suicidal ants, building massive systems of short-term comforts that will eventually lead to our demise? Monoculture farming, seed patents, rampant use of cancer-causing pesticides, incessant mining, overconsumption of all our precious natural resources, disgusting practices in meat production, opioid overdose epidemics and on and on… it is all just so short-sighted, unhealthy, and suicidal.
Life is a miracle. The conditions that led to your soul being born into this world in your beautiful body is something that should never be taken for granted. Your roots run deep. Your ancestors’ blood memory is running through your veins guiding you at every turn. The entire universe lies within. Can you feel it? Like the plant, can we take some sun, some water and choose to grow? The simple act of taking a nature walk in springtime will remind you of the awesome power of rebirth. A fresh bud unfurling after a brisk April rain contains the kind of beauty that will bring you to your knees.
You are more loved than you will ever know. A Harvard study proved that most people are far more well-liked than they think they are. The path to destruction has powerful roots as well. Tragedy begets tragedy. My poor neighbour lost her husband and then almost her son in the wake. Her heart would not withstand another loss of that magnitude. You are so loved. Choose to respect the gift of life and respect the people who love you. Keep them close and lift them up; right up to the sun.