Written by Jessie Panazzolo
I wish people remembered that spring only happens for a quarter of a year, and in some places on Earth, the moments that the sun radiates onto the land occurs during an even smaller fraction of that time. Spring, a time for productivity, growth and flourishing is not a time that spans longer than it needs to. In some parts of the world, bodies hibernate and go into torpor, leaves drop to the ground and the world stands still and silent for very long periods of time. These individuals don’t take one or two days off, they may slow down, their bodies nearing death levels of function for over half a year. If the plants and animals in these frozen landscapes thought that they could push through and continued their lives as normal during this time, they would surely perish. The consequences of not slowing down are life or death, and the standstill of the world in these times is necessary for life to continue to grow and flourish when the time is right. I wish people remembered that they are just an animal on Earth and therefore not thrust with the impossible task of flourishing year-round. Humans, like bears, need to rest, conserve resources and protect themselves during challenging times. There is winter, there is drought, there are times of stress and times of stillness and in these times, nature will never expect you to flourish.
I wish people remembered the importance of having enough resources and using those resources in the most effective way for you. A starved and exhausted cheetah is not catching the antelope bounding along the savannah. Similarly, any individual who has not had their needs met can not be successful in providing for themselves or others in their community. The cubs are relying on the mother to eat enough, rest enough and drink enough for the family to survive. No mother cheetah is consumed with the thought that meeting her needs may be selfish, for she needs to be highly resourced to ensure the survival of her family. A caterpillar is not known to be concerned if he may be thought of as a glutton as he engorges himself on the nutrients he needs to transform into a butterfly. He is not concerned with the snake, who only needs to eat once a week, because restricting his resources in this fashion will not allow the caterpillar to reach his destination. The caterpillar is not ashamed to hide away in his cocoon for days at a time in order to evolve in the way he needs. I wish people remembered to advocate for their needs without any shame or fear of judgement. The resources and conditions that you require are exactly what is needed to survive, thrive or evolve, despite the actions and resource use of those around you.
I wish people remembered that delicious delicacies such as omelettes arise from a bunch of cracked eggs. Volcanoes are only forces of destruction for a small fraction of their lives, spending the rest of their days as vessels of wonderful creation, crafting islands, new landscapes and habitats for many creatures to enjoy. Although they are perceived as angry, tumultuous and hostile, these perceptions do not prevent volcanoes from their innovation or prevent us from enjoying their creations. Even in volcanic vents at the bottom of the ocean, seemingly atrocious places to reside, tardigrades still find these vents to be perfectly suitable habitats. It is not possible to have a single food, habitat or set of conditions that pleases every creature on Earth simultaneously. However, even in the most inhospitable places on our planet, there are still bacteria, lichen and beings who are willing and able to tough it out. I wish people remembered that there will be times of turmoil, wreckage and explosion, but these are just small parts of bigger vessels of creation for new life, growth and the opportunity to evolve.
I wish people remembered that we are just animals living on a planet with specific conditions, resources and needs for us to flourish. No species on Earth, whether they be bacteria, fungi, plants or animals, can experience optimal resources or conditions all year round. We are expected to experience stillness, turmoil and scarcity as much as we are expected to thrive in our preferred environments. We are not failures for ebbing and flowing through the undulating waves of life, in the same way that we don’t shame plants for not flowering all year round or bears who don’t try to tough out the winter. I wish people remembered that is okay to exist in exactly the way that feels best for you in whatever conditions you are presented with. I wish people remembered to feel like they are, an earthling, instead of a failure, fraud or whatever the synthetic expectation of the human construct expects you to be.