Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Wisdom of Spines and Flowers

You wonder where they come from...the disparate elements of flowers and spines.

Alarmed queries often accompany a proposed visit to the desert. "Aren't you afraid of the snakes?" "What if you're pricked by a cactus?" "Are there scorpions?" All have spines...

The answer is usually a shrug or "So what?" Dangers are usually benign...at least in the initial stages of a journey.

The desert is quiet except for the hum of bees - which have spines of their own. And the flowers endure, living in tranquility with all the spines. It is a wondrous harmony of disparate elements.

Cactus leaves have evolved into protective, water conserving spines...and the bees ensure the flowers will appear next year.

Except for the occasional javelina or desert tortoise that grabs a bite of prickly pear, spines ensure that cactus flowers survive as the "least molested" of blossoms.

The desert, however, isn't generous to those who won't adapt to its regimen of lean necessity.

It discovered long ago that only occasional water is necessary -- and hums along with its bees and flowers and spines in oft hidden tranquility.

It seems to know...if we won't adapt, if we lack an instinct for economy, we'll vanish.

The flowers will surely be here, but we won't see them.