Life is the ultimate opportunist, cropping up wherever it gets the chance. It never waits until things are just right, because it knows that things will never be “just right.” Never. So when the seeds are dropped, ideally it would be wonderful if they fell into the most fertile of soil, rich with all the nutrients that make plants grow optimally. It would be wonderful if a mild breeze covered the seeds with soil to protect them and a gentle rain fell every now and then to water them as needed. It would also be wonderful if the sun warmed the soil to just the perfect temperature and no storm ever challenged the delicate seedlings. Or us.
|Struggling on the salty shore.|
Maybe that happens on perfect worlds, but Earth never claimed to be perfect. For as long as I have known her, Mother Nature has never been a good housekeeper. Frankly, things are always a mess here. Plants are strewn about haphazardly and animals run freely, stomping about at will. The sun is absolutely ferocious and burns everything in sight. The storms rip across the land, snatching up delicate seedlings like a thief in a jewelry store. The rains are torrential and then they dry up completely, and the land, laden with clay and sand, cracks and shrinks into a substance as hard as concrete. The lightning sears the trees and splits them in two, and they fall wherever they please. It’s a disaster, and no one in her right mind would bring life into this chaos.
And yet, here it is. Mother Nature knows full well that many seeds tossed into the wind will never bear fruit, many animals will die at birth, and many insects will be crushed and destroyed. But she tosses the seeds anyway, she quickens the wombs, she opens the chrysalis. She knows that life will spring violently into action given even the tiniest chance. Life could not care less about the conditions and imperfections in which it forms, nor does it care whether all the needs of its manifestations are met. The goal is simply to continue and to expand.
Even so, for all of the Earth’s harshness and for all of Mother Nature’s tremendous forgetfulness, life finds amazing ways to grow in difficult and suboptimal conditions. It is a matter of sheer joy for a seed to struggle upon a salty shore with a constant and fierce wind. Likewise, it is a matter of sheer bliss to struggle through the horrendous difficulties life hands to each of us. It is a matter of extreme privilege that we are here. It is a matter of pure faith—a belief in things which cannot be seen—that it will all be worth it in the end.
And it is all worth it in the end. Every time. It’s completely worth the struggle, to stand on the shore in the wind and violent storms and blazing sun, shaking our fist into the sky and saying, “I’m a match for anything!”