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Lessons from Natural World

December 23rd, 2011

I’m continually amazed by what I see going on in the natural world around me. Last week, after making some kimchi using a savoy cabbage that I got from a local farmer, the core was left sitting on the counter by my compost bowl. A week later, the cabbage was growing fresh new leaves.

At first I didn’t make anything of it, but then thoughts of struggle came to my mind. In nature, the main goal is to reproduce to continue the species; this cabbage is no different. If I planted this core in a pot, it would grow roots, leaves, and it would begin to flower in the spring. It would then produce seeds, scatter them around, and then tiny cabbage seedlings would pop up all over my garden. I’d have a bumper crop of cabbage in the coming years!

This is the same reason that spinach and lettuce plants will bolt when they get stressed by heat or dryness. Often, when a plant comes under so much stress that it’s survival is threatened, they’ll expend the last bit of energy they have to produce flowers and then seeds, thus ensuring the survival of their kind.

It got me thinking about something Mr Chiots and I have talked about at length. When you look back at your life, the times that were the most difficult are the periods of the most growth, if you allow them to be. Many people don’t sprout new growth when difficulties arise, they simple wither and die; others fight by doing everything they can to survive, thrive and prosper. This moment in our lives is looking like it’s going to be a season of much growth, spurring us on towards something bigger and more beautiful than what our lives are today. Perhaps this is the nudge we need to make a few changes. As I grow older, I’ve learned to embrace these times because so much growth occurs and I know good things will come from it.

Have you found that difficulties produce the most growth in your life?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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