Friday, May 21, 2010

Good Samaritans

The sun is out! It's been raining, and some of our peonies are face down on the ground. They don't mind. You dunk them in water anyway if you cut them, because they exist symbiotically with ants, and you don't want to bring ants into the house. Here are words from a peony lover:
Do not try to get rid of the ants on your peonies. This is a natural and temporary activity. It is believed that peonies produce small amounts of nectar and other ant attractants to encourage ants to help in opening the dense double flower buds found in many peonies. The ants may be found covering certain varieties and avoiding others, this is totally normal.
Think of it - selective ants. Who knows what else they know? If let loose in a museum, what paintings would they favor, and how many scientific explanations would be proposed?

I am rambling.

Took a walk outside and didn't find a peony I wanted to photograph. They are so photographed, it seems impossible not to be cliched. Instead, I shot green seedpods hanging from a redbud branch. Redbud is a characteristic woodland tree around here, and in much of the eastern US where there is enough moisture and it doesn't get too cold. You can see how prolifically it seeds.
I was going to blog today beginning like this: What is Zen about an organ donation? Instead I found the peonies + ants leading me to articles about mutualistic relationships, which are many. Is organ donation one of those? No. Laura can feel the warmth of her own generosity, but I can't give her anything near the value of a kidney to me - ten or twenty more years, years of being able to write and watch my grandson grow up. She will have the very unusual benefit of knowing she did something difficult - it can't be entirely risk-free - and gave life. A feeling much greater, I imagine, than I used to feel when I gave blood, back when I was able. That was a soft, gentle pride.

But this is more, it's about doing for someone in need what you would do for your own sister or daughter. I am seeing Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan differently these days. I think I remember that the Samaritan was a man from out of town who stopped to help someone he did not know - a stranger. We all give (if sometimes reluctantly) to our family, and our neighborhood. Religion applauds the person who can step outside that charmed circle and see the whole world as intimately their own.


  1. I'll start from an acoustical perspective. Resonance, sometimes called sympathetic vibration.
    Your need, when channeled resonated with other people. Wonderful news, good fortune! We will all resonate with you.

  2. I recently observed ants who had formed a conga line, when I leaned in to look I fancied I heard a chorus of tiny voices chanting: more sugar! more sugar! more sugar!