On the Bookshelf

Contributing Writer

Plants, like people, require certain things from nature to survive.  Generally, the four main ingredients plats need are sun, water, air and soil.  Different plants require these things in different measure, and there are some plants that can forgo one or more of these and still live.  Air plants for instance do not need to be planted in the soil.  They are able to capture from the air the nutrients they need.  Similarly cactus plants need water much less frequently than a geranium, for instance.  They have built in holding tanks to keep water for long periods of time.

Adaptation is very obvious in the plant kingdom.  Again looking at cacti and other desert plants we see living things having had for them created and creative ways of living in harsh environments.  Interestingly, and in fact, every environment on Earth can be harsh for plants and wildlife alike.  Since nothing ever remains the same anywhere, all plants and animals have adaptations that allow for them to survive.  Humans being plant and animal based creatures also have adaptations, and require adaptability to live on Earth.  How well do you adapt to varying environments, physical and mental?

If you were to come back or be able to become any living creature on Earth, what would you be?  This is a question for fun, though our thoughts on it may have some inference information on who we truly are, and what it takes for us to live contented lives.  Today’s book is a fun read from an interesting fellow.  James Herriot (pen name for James Wight), a British veterinarian wrote a number of charming books about his practice caring for animals, and of course in such caring for the owners of said animals, as well.  Every Living Thing is a latter book in a series preceded by All Things Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, and The Lord God Made Them All.  In these books Herriot shares his passion, humor, intellect, curiosity and joy regarding his work with animals.

Looking at Herriot’s work we see a great deal of his effort was placed on caring for the owners of the creatures he treated as he cared for the animals.  The people often tended to be in worse shape than the animals.  Humans have this strange and peculiar knack for inflating situations tremendously with fear, anxiety, worry, guilt and shame.  Funny how none of these things make humans feel better, nor do they do much good for their pets (or other people around them).  Perhaps, this is a lesson for us.

Herriot performed his animal magic in the Yorkshire dales from around 1940 until his death in 1995.  In his many years of aiding and assisting animals and their owners, he saw much.  His books share the true love he had for animals, including humans.  He shares his keen insight, and very many wonderful stories in his books, all of which give us the reader greater insight and even compassion for all the living things on Earth.

Jumping back to our opening thoughts on plants, we must always see and understand the intimate connection we have with the plant kingdom, as do all living creatures, and our true reliance upon it for life at all.  If we can do things today to help the planet, strengthen the plant kingdom in any way, be more aware of our connection to the plants, then we will deepen the experience we have individually in this life, and thereby improve the world we live in.  Inter-being and inter-connectivity are real and obvious, though they both require our loving attention for their strength and meaning to be evident.  Do this today, and see if your day does not go better!

James Herriot (James Wight) most certainly saw the connections with animals, humans, plants and the environment from a very intimate level.  We are all invited to do so in this life.  Read one of his books and see if this may help you understanding of the world we all live in together.

Enjoy and read on!

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