I’m in the middle of a course on plant identification. We’re looking at everything from grasses through to trees and figuring out how to tell one species from another.
Biologists don’t know how many species of living organisms there are. The best estimate they have is 8.7 million, but estimates go from 3 million to 100 million.
Every species is different. They’ve evolved to specialize and survive, each finding its own tiny niche in the world of things. I guess this is why one of gardening’s first mottos is: right plant in right place.
All of this makes me think: right person in right place.
There are certain things I believe to be true, and knowing these things is like taking a weight off my shoulders. It’s like breathing freely for the first time.
We are, by definition, right person in right place. We’re part of the “family of things”, in Mary Oliver’s words. We’re part of the whole, glorious shebang. We breathe the air that trees make and we drink the water that transpires from the lakes. We’re made of soil parts, animal parts, plant parts…and sunshine.
We’re part of something bigger than ourselves.
The trouble is, we forget. We imagine we’re a brain and eyes, battling our way through a hostile world, fighting for our right to be here. We feel we need to prove something.
But the truth is, there’s nothing we need do, except recognize we’re part of all that is and act accordingly. Simply be good humans.
Just as the wild strawberry is home in that sunny spot by the driveway, so are we home where we are. If we can rest our selves in the rich detritus of the world, we can grow, according to our own needs and our own desires.
We can be ourselves as part of our larger self. We can love the things of the world and we can love ourselves.
We can be at home.