Green Thumb Compassion
I like Michael Pollan’s discussion of how to plant a tree seedling.
“You need to restore a reasonable root-shoot ratio if your seedlings are to withstand the shock of transplant. But the green thumb has an intuitive sense of these matters — of just how much shoot and leaf to amputate… It is not too much to say he suffers along with the newly-planted tree, watching its leaves go limp and fold along their midribs as it struggles to staunch the flight of irreplaceable water molecules.”
“When the dry west wind blows he can all but see those molecules lift from the leaves, and he knows the roots at that moment are as useless as fish gills in open air. He comes to the tree’s rescue not with a hose but with pruning shears and saws.” (p.150)
This week, with portions of my manuscript, I was the compassionate green thumb. To an outsider I might have looked ruthless, but I knew in my heart that I was saving things, saving the tree with my shears and my handsaws. Still, we’ll see if my editor thinks I was compassionate enough.
What kind of unlikely compassion have you showed your work, your writing, or your relationships lately?
Tree Leaves photo by Sara. Quote from Michael Pollan’s Second Nature.