Thursday, February 11, 2016
Living beings adapt to their environment in order to belong to it more felicitously. Much that constitutes an environment is living too, so perhaps most adaptation involves mutual or synergistic adaptation.
I call it the elbow dance, the way we shimmy and shoulder our way with one another, making room for ourselves even as we allow space for those others with whom we share a domicile, a work space, a conversation or a loaf of bread. Babies and their mothers adapt to each others’ rhythms, develop a communication of eyes, of arms and heartbeat, a lullaby of swaying hips and soothing vocal tones. Long time partners in life influence one another, rise and fall with waves of energy sighed or chugged into the surrounding air. Our ideas bounce from each others’ brainstorms, or infiltrate with the silence of ozone, insinuate with a snake’s silence. We are permeable, bendable, and mutable within our interpersonal environments.
Have you ever seen a river S’ing its way through a landscape, encroaching on a steadfast tree whose determined roots hang on as the bank recedes? The trunk bends out over the water and up so its crown can still sip the sun. The roots nearest the water are naked and vulnerable.
Vegetation draws certain animals and insects, and those creatures draw others to the region until the most fruitful and densest population consumes or changes the landscape and another shift occurs—desertion or re-population of a different species, perhaps.
Adaptation is not without destruction. And mal-adaptation causes destruction, on smaller and larger scales. Have you seen the recent footage of the coast of Pacifica, California, where the high sides of cliffs cascade back into the ocean, leaving apartment buildings hanging over the precipice?
We have familiarity with erosion–of land, of air quality, of harmony, and of our spirits. Even heavy footprints get washed away in geologic time. So in the brevity of our “blink,” how happy to flex and stretch, to bend and lift the edges of ourselves among and in between.
Guest saddle: To what have you adapted well and happily? When do you see yourself in a mal-adaptive mode? Where and when has your spirit eroded? When have you washed away an opportunity?