I enjoy the wonder of winter with water beautifully frozen in time, Even our exhaled breath freezes momentarily in the air. After a long, cold winter, I look forward to spring with the hope of life beginning again all around me, as trees put forth their leaves in anticipation of combining light from our sun with elements from the soil and water into new growth. Annual flowers too send out shoots and roots from seeds which have lain dormant for months or years, awaiting the right conditions to grow and produce beautiful, fragrant, colorful blossoms, delighting our senses, inviting guests to be entreated with nectar in exchange for pollination.
Like all of nature, we also have seasons in our lives and interactions within our societies which ebb and flow through time, each of us waiting for our moment then working to send forth with our unique strengths and abilities, to grow and to blossom.
For some, their unique abilities may allow them to represent their neighbors in positions of government Of BY and For The People.
Many unique and beautiful flowers bloom in the desert of my childhood. Some of these flowers are particularly unique in what they provide for insects, animals and humans. Monarch Butterflies rely on the plant commonly called milkweed. The silky fibers in seed pods of this plant have been used for knitting socks, filling pillows, and even filled life preservers to save soldiers lives in WWII.
Each evening the bristled, stiff stem of young sunflowers grows slightly more on the west side, causing the compound flower head to tilt eastward, where bright warming rays of the rising sun will land upon it. This incredible flower then follows the sun’s path across the sky each day, growing it’s stem throughout the day in a manner to keep it’s floret covered flower head facing the arriving rays of sunlight. When it’s florets are all formed, the sunflower remains facing eastward, where the early rays of the sun warm the florets, attracting pollinating insects. Humans seeking to know cardinal directions as they trek across a landscape can know which direction is East by observing the eastward tilted heads of sunflowers. Seeds from sunflowers feed songbirds preparing their bodies for a long winter in place or a long flight to somewhere warm. Humans too thrive on the nutrients contained in each sunflower seed.
A native plant commonly called Indian rice grass, grows in little clumps and produces rice sized rounded seeds which can provide nourishment to anyone who happens upon them. This and other native bunch grasses are now threatened by an invasive annual grass commonly called “cheat grass.” A sharp awn on the seeds this annual grass easily snags into animals fur and people’s clothing, allowing it to be distributed to new locations where it can abundantly thrive in the midst of native plants.
Each spring cheat grass seeds laying from past years on soil moistened from snowmelt or rain quickly grow and produce seeds then wither and dry. These dried stems of grass are highly flammable and a landscape abundant with them can be entirely burned, destroying native bunch grasses and other plants.
When an area is disturbed, this grass and other plants such as cockleburs and knapweed can quickly get established.
Cocklebur seeds are encased in a spike covered shell which becomes entangled in animals’ fur and peoples’ clothing. Any attempt to remove the entangled seed capsule usually results in painful tiny punctures from the hooked, chemical laden spikes. This plant does have some beneficial uses by humans historically as food and medicine and it inspired the invention of the hooked fastener Velcro. Chemicals produced by this plant inhibit other plants from establishing once it is in place. The chemicals of this plant give it a unique, rank, odor.
One pervasive knapweed grows very deep roots, which allow it to out compete other plants and make it very difficult to remove. Once it is established it can take many years of tedious work to remove it so that plants more beneficial to us can thrive again. Chemicals from this plant are noxious and give it a unique, rank, odor.
Every spring of an election year, I am happy and hopeful as I see many kind and wise people filing to represent their neighbors or to preside in elective offices of our neighborhood, State and Nation!
Soon, though, especially in the midst of turmoil and disruption, it seems that all kind and wise persons who would provide so many beneficial understandings and accomplishments in the governance of our neighborhoods, states and nation are quickly eliminated in the horrific foray of lies and innuendos, cash and chaos that ensues.
In the end we are left with the same rank selection of established politicians and scoundrels with their deep rooted connections to capitalist donors and their toxic rancorous, repulsive, rhetoric.
Like a cheat grass wildfire they have removed any competition with such vehemence or violence that on many years no one else even arrives on the barren soil of their terrain to attempt to establish their self to represent their neighbors there.
Some noxious weeds have to be removed one by one, taking out as much of the sustaining root as possible. Over time, light and fungus break down the toxic chemicals put into surrounding soil by the plant.
Most people in our nation don’t vote at all and those of us who do are just hoping to keep the “worst weeds” out of office.
If we could always vote for the person that we would truly want to represent us without it causing the election of someone we don’t want there, then more people would feel inclined to vote . If we as a candidate new that our neighbors could put us as their first choice and as a second or third choice they could put the least noxious person of the weeds, then we could have hope in succeeding and more people would offer to campaign for office.
Ranked-Choice voting allows us to put our truly preferred choice as our first choice, then put who our second choice would be, and on to our third choice and so on until we’ve ranked any candidates we would support in the order we would prefer that they be considered.