Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

RABBITS are driving us nuts. Pesky insects and diseases exploit helpless plants trapped in overly-soggy pots. So we move the plants undercover. And then rabbits finish them off! The rabbits are practically costing me my living! They shouldn’t be here. They are Eastern Cottontails. What right do they have to mow down whole blocks of plants? Grr.

But by the same token, what right do we have to live here, take up space here and make demands on the environment? Yet here we are, trying to block, trick, trap, squish, spray or otherwise murder* aphids and rabbits and microbes to keep them from a meal — so we can do … what? Something nice for nature?

Then I really get the gloomies when I watch the world news. Pandemics, Ukraine and nuclear threats; incivility, insurrection, unrest in the US; earthquakes, extinctions and insane weather. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Rabbits and microbes and bugs, oh my! 

Looking for hope**, I revisited something I had heard on the podcast “On Being”*** recently. “Take in the good”. Look for things that are positive, take note of them, be thankful for them.

 So I spent some time taking in the good. The Black Cottonwood trees’ (Populus trichocarpa), bare branches full of the joyful noise of a hundred red-winged blackbirds calling to Spring. The Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra Formosa) are coming up. The gray-green ruffles of Western Columbine’s (Aquilegia Formosa-see photo above) rosettes have popped above ground level. The Great Camas (Camassia leichtlinii-see photo below) has sent up green spikes.

The time of sticks is over. I can now see green leaf buds on the Nootka Roses (Rosa nutkana), evidence of life. The Honeysuckles, both the vines – Orange Trumpet (Lonicera ciliosa) and Hairy (Lonicera hispidula) – and the tall-growing Black Twinberry shrubs (Lonicera involucrata), sprouted leaves over the weekend!

I recognize that native plants are not the be all and end all for solving the world’s problems. Our plants are just one of the “goods” that we can “take in”. Planting for the planet’s health nurtures hope, hope gives us oomph, durability and a view toward the far future. Two steps forward and one step back.

Keep on keepin’ on!

*using all-organic methods, of course!

**Is it my imagination, or do I write this every winter?

**“On Being” with Krista Tippet. Toward the end of 2022 she had a short series of podcasts called “Foundations for Being Alive Now.”

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