Desert plants here in Baja California Sur often intertwine and lean on one another like the cardon cactus and elephant tree (torote) pictured above. A local plant expert described this to some friends, my husband, and me as being simbiotico; that is, a symbiotic relationship in which different organisms cooperate.
Sometimes, he explained, well-meaning folks clear out the other plants surrounding the large cardons (relatives of the saguaros of the Sonoran desert), which are protected here by law, and inadvertently kill them because they rely on the protection of other plants during high winds. They, in turn, provide shelter for the adjacent plants.
The following photo of a lomboy tree and a pitaya dulce cactus illustrates the elemental truth: we are stronger together.
Events remind me of this:
I talk by cell phone to my writing group back in Texas; each time our circle of women meets, we have a “check-in”. During these minutes, over many months, we have encouraged each other in a variety of situations: new business ventures, deaths of close family members, illness, romantic relationships.
Also back home, our close friend Ed speaks of his appreciation for the amazing strength of his wife as she cares for him following his multiple complications related to surgery.
In Oregon, Sue undergoes chemo–with family surrounding her–and her dear friend Diane, our neighbor here on the beach, knits and sends her a variety of colorful, exuberant (just like Sue) hats.
In this Baja California community, a group of Americanos organizes a benefit for the young families of two local fishermen lost in the Pacific.
My husband and I explore a mountain road, noting the changing flora as the elevation changes, and he remarks, “Lots of simbiotico going on out there.”
What examples of simbiotico do you notice around you? In plants? In human stories?
What lessons have you learned from plants?