Life Finds a Way

While suffering through our Arizona cold spell—we barely hit 70° the day after Christmas—we walked along one of the many paths and trails near our house.

Along the way, the still unfamiliar (to me) flora and fauna offer an interesting view of life here in the desert. One cannot help but wonder at the diversity and tenacity of life under seemingly harsh and impossible conditions.

But life finds a way.

One such plant is the Desert Arrow-weed (also known as the Marsh Fleabane, even though marshes are scarce around here.)

Desert Arrow-weed

What caught my eye was the volume of seed spores—those tiny airborne wisps that float on the air currents—drifting by and the sheer number of seeds still clinging to the branches and stems. Just the number alone, one would think the area would be covered with these weeds.

Still, the reality is the chance of even one of these seeds, blown without any specific navigational intent, settling onto a fertile spot and surviving to someday produce its own voluminous output of seeds is infinitesimally small.

But life finds a way.

It is in the very nature of nature to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds against it. If even just one seed takes root, it may produce seeds that thrive at a higher rate, and the species survive.

Throughout the history of the world, most species that have existed since life first evolved have faded into oblivion. The natural changes in the earth’s environment—global warming is both a natural occurrence and one sped up by anthropomorphic actions—benefit some species and doom others to extinction.

Changes will continue in the coming new year. Some will thrive, while others will fade away. Yet we humans have a unique opportunity to make a difference. This evolutionary experiment of consciousness and self-awareness, the ability to seek an understanding of our place, and our responsibility to preserve life on earth, provides us with the ability to enhance our survival while minimizing our impact on other species.

There are signs of our progress everywhere. But, sadly, there are tragic reminders of the lingering violent primitive nature of our evolution still rampaging throughout the world.

Perhaps we can take a lesson from the Desert Arrowweed. Despite all the examples of the evil humans are capable of, the possibility of one seed taking root to sustain rather than suppress life exists.

I wish you the happiest of New Year’s and encourage you all to look to the future with hope and determination to make a difference. Remember, it only takes one tiny seed…

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