Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 05/01/2008 - 12:48.

We have all attended meetings where you leave feeling you didn’t get to say what was on your mind; your brainy thoughts never saw the light of day – you may never get your chance. 


At any public or private gathering there is a delicate balance between being a good listener and being a persuasive and punctual speaker.   Talking too much can offend others who feel the day should be shared for everyone’s bright ideas to be heard.


So how is it with flowers  there is a certain calendar with it's allocated time to speak -  which all the flowers co-operate with and politely abide?


Starting in chronological order at ground level – even from under the winter’s last snow -

first the snow drops get to speak, then crocuses, daffodils and tulips and on Mayday, the grape hyacinth.  


After the snow drops, and harmonically integrated with the ground flowers,  the annual meeting moderator then calls on the bushes and trees in a back and forth order to take the limelight – smoothly announcing every single speaker through spring and summer.  


The participants present in alternating colors, shouldering no one aside or out, harmoniously allowing everyone  to communicate with poise, impact, and jaw- dropping beauty.  


If we could only moderate amongst ourselves as well!

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botanical parity


In our gardens, our forests, our meadows and prairies, along our shorelines and on our mountaintops there is a symphony of example as to how to operate as community. Here in nature, one plant does not rule supreme. There is no – “my way or the highway”, but a solid appreciation of community where each has her/his/its opportunity to contribute. Sometimes these ideas go awry – as in when a non-native species is introduced.


Geneticists have introduced “strange fruit” into the natural formula creating vast seas of monocultures – GMO patented crops. But give nature a chance, and it will readily return to a more equitable state and more balanced and harmonious reality.

Perhaps this is not biomimicry, but rather biolearning. How can we learn from nature how we might operate more equitably as community? Community is not one idea, not one culture, but many. It is not monoculture, but the subtle blending of the needs and dreams of many who inhabit the same space. Can we learn from the grape hyacinth when it is our time to speak and when to listen to other notes in the symphony of living together; when in the natural cycle of living and dying, discussion, planning, envisioning and creating it is time to bud, to bloom, to wither, to rest?


Once a long time ago someone asked me if I was a mushroom. They said, “they keep you in the dark, feed you shit and expect you to produce”. Indeed this is what I was in the culture of the university community. It felt offensive to me. But the mushroom exploits this idea. A gentle rain wakes the mushrooms hidden underground and suddenly they burst forth in dazzling array of flesh making their unabashed statements for a few days.