The transition from winter dormancy to tender spring awakenings has a soft spot in my heart. Our mountain desert environment is so harsh, and yet the most delicate and intricate flora and fauna have somehow become specialized enough to survive our seasonal transitions. The annual rebirth is a miracle in my eyes.
When those frail and dainty, newly-emerged little shoots start to stick their heads out from the left-over blanket of expired vegetation of seasons past, I cannot help but think about their – albeit temporary – vulnerability. If a passerby were to exert any level of physical dominance at this stage of the plant’s life, it would certainly perish.
On the other hand; the very same passerby has an opportunity to practice kindness. An opportunity to celebrate how precious and unique each of the plants’ lives are through observation, thought and admiration.
Is it possible for a human being to feel empathy for a plant? Empathy is, by definition, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It requires stepping out of one’s self and taking the time to thoughtfully consider what it would be like to exist within another being’s spiritual and temporal situation. While vegetative empathy may be a higher-level goal in your personal Zen progression, there are many of your very same taxonomic rank – of whom you interact with daily – you can practice developing empathy with.
I believe the Heber Valley could be an even nicer place to dwell if our residents could be more empathetic towards fellow citizens and local merchants. My spring challenge to the community is to refrain from making a judgement until you have adequately considered the other’s side of the situation.
Before you write that “one star” review or demand reimbursement, before you downplay to your peers the services provided, before filing a formal complaint or enacting any level of personal boycott: just think about the people your decision will affect and assess the potential outcomes of your actions. This is a very small community and every action creates ripple effects. Let us all not step on any newly-sprouted wildflowers. I hope you enjoy this volume of Heber Valley Life magazine! Thank you for celebrating the season and our wonderful community with us.