Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Need For Green Plants

Wild Plants And Wooly Bears

We humans, whether we know it or not, have a need for green plants that transcends their ability to produce oxygen and provide food. It occurs to me now, while a few leaves yet cling to hardwood trees and my lawn cries out for one more mowing, that soon the world as we know it will undergo a dramatic transformation. It will turn white and green, growing things will seem so very distant.

Which is one reason that I do my best to circumvent the change, or at the least, stave it off for as long as possible. To that end, I have dug up some mint from outside and put it in a large planter in front of my south-facing glass door. In the same planter I have added Swiss chard. Hopefully, by mid-winter, I’ll have fresh chard for the occasional side dish and mint for use in tea and on lamb.

Also, the green stuff, chard and lettuce, in my unheated greenhouse, usually persists until well into December. When even that finally gives up the ghost, I resort to sorting through the plant photos that I took the previous spring, summer and fall. And sometimes, I’ll thumb through books, usually vividly-illustrated, old volumes featuring color plates of the various wild plants.

So viewing myself and my habits as if from afar, I realize that these things are all done according to a need. And as hinted at above, we all share that same need. Some evidence this by leaving Maine in late fall and heading south for the winter. It’s not just to get away from ice and snow, either. It’s to get in touch, once again, with green, growing things.

I'm sure that someone will wonder why I don't mention houseplants. These help, of course, but since they are present year-round, they never become conspicuous by their absence. Houseplants are fixtures, a given, and not indicative of change.

Taking things one step further, I believe that the green plants, particularly the wild ones, represent life. And more. For some, they are analogous to spiritual life, something beyond what we know now.

In short, our continuing relationship with green plants is a be-all to end-all of sorts, absolutely necessary for our well-being.

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