Saturday, January 19, 2013

Progress

photo of ice crystals on a window
© harrington
Once I thought that change would come the way an acorn becomes an oak tree: taproot developing to support an expanding trunk and crown that would dominate the sky. Other times it seemed that progress would come as waves upon a beach, sometimes gently, sometimes crashing, always washing away the sand, although most of the time many grains remained. Now I'm wondering if progress arrives as ice crystals, starting separately, reaching out, slowly connecting until it has formed a solid coating, each individual crystal linked to others, similar, distinct, together stronger, more complete, E pluribus unum. I'm thinking that one of the ways that ice crystals, and liquid water for that matter, come to prevail is combination rather than domination. My windows are never covered by one giant ice crystal but by many combined. Ice and water follows an and strategy rather than an or strategy. As I look at what I consider failed strategies these days, it seems to me that they're based on ors, not ands. Ecology teaches us, if we're willing to learn, that successful communities aren't based on monoculture. Now matter how many acres a corn field covers, no matter how great the harvest, its value is naught without a market. I hope that those who govern in My Minnesota, and those of us who elect them, can be at least as smart as ice and water. You and I can be twice as strong as you or I. Right, Minnesota?