What gives plants the strength to grow through so many obstacles? What gives people the strength to go on day after day doing their work in the world?
I have been noticing the strength of plants lately. By the ocean, I saw some rosa rugosa (beach rose) looking healthy as it was flowering and growing right up through a pile of rocks. There is a grape vine that year after year comes in through the window of my office and grows across my desk. As I write this, a Virginia creeper has somehow entered my house through a wall and is holding its “head” up on our porch, near our summer dining table. These plants breathe life into our world and show us an example of plant optimism. They don’t give up. They don’t talk politics. They keep doing what they are supposed to do. They are answering their inner call. To be green. To be the best they can. To be fruitful and multiply. This is why I grow plants. And this is why I like to hang around with people who see beauty and wonder in the world around us.
People think I am a great grower of plants and trees. They see a lot of fruit and nuts on our trees and think I have mastered the secrets of growing. The reason I can grow and harvest so much fruit and nuts is because these plants want to grow!
It is effortless. You plant a fruit tree or a nut tree and water it a bit at first. Keep the lawnmower away but give it the edge over the surrounding grass. The trees’ roots go down into the earth and find the resources they need right there. Our biggest job is not to hurt them.Plants are amazing. People are amazing. We survive.
My mother got up every day in her high eighties and painted and wrote poetry. She donated to every organization that wrote to her. She was helping the world to be better, brighter, with more music and kindness, to her last day.
Plants do this also. When the sun touches them in the morning, they are ready. Putting forth flowers and fruit and shade and interesting shapes on our street and in our fields. They take in CO2 and give us oxygen while they are at it. When they die, they give everything back to the earth from where they sprouted. As the famous perennial tree crop enthusiast John W. Hershey once said, “Plant ‘til you are planted!”
When we plant flowers and shrubs and trees, we are standing up for everything that is good in the world. We have hope for the place. Each plant is our partner in believing in our world and in each other.
David Fried started Elmore Roots Fruit Tree Nursery forty years ago. He also plays guitar and writes songs, including an elderberry rap song.