I went out for a walk today, and there by the fence line were some beautiful flowers. Somehow they had grown there just for me, to brighten my day and to lift my spirits. Such an expenditure! Such showy blossoms! Who will pay for all this luxury? Who are the flowers for?
Wouldn’t the plants do better to build on strong roots to drink the water and take in the minerals? Wouldn’t they do better to invest in green leaves that will take in solar energy and turn it into life? What purpose do the flowers serve? Isn’t it selfish of the plants to waste so many resources on something that is just so pretty? Are they just showing off?
Then I looked closer, and I spotted a wasp, and some beetles and a bee and a moth, and they were all feeding from the flowers. What users! How unselfish of the plants to grow flowers just to feed these indolent insects who are living at their expense! Why don’t the insects invest in solar energy also and leave the poor plants alone? They are such parasites, and the flower-bearing plants are saints!
Or then again, maybe the plants are using the insects as their slaves to carry their pollen for them! Maybe the pollen will help the plants to bear fruit, and the plants are being very naughty when they tempt the insects with their flowers. And the fruit of this illicit trade will serve as food for yet other unsuspecting animals who will scatter the seeds. And the seeds will sprout and new plants will grow, and then I will have showy flowers again next year, without ever lifting a finger.
Maybe everybody is selfish, and everybody is good. Maybe everyone uses everyone else to get what they want, and this mutual service works best when each thinks only of himself! What do you think?
Copyright 2013 Aya Katz –Words and Images
The text of this essay can be heard read by me in the video below.