I visited the Cylburn Arboretum over the weekend and what a wonderful time with nature. We went because we read that the Dahlia’s – those radiant, beautiful flowers that fill our vases and bouquets were in bloom. Walking and then sitting in the naturalness of it all was peaceful and melted away all the ugliness of the days past. Frankly, it reminded me that there must a God or Higher Power who ultimately will decide what we find we cannot in this era of Black Lives Matter. As I walked along I discovered a Black Alder Tree. This tree fixes nitrogen. Wow. In doing a little research, I found that nitrogen fixation is essential for biosynthesis (cells) which is essential for our existence as living organisms. I also learned that this tree grows fast and can take over a landscape if not nurtured correctly. I believe there is a movement (even presidential) to rewrite what BLM and the movement for justice for black lives is all about. The BLM movement/organization was born out of the shameful lack of justice for the death of three black young men killed at the hands of police authority (except Trayvon Martin who surrendered to a citizen perpetrating a police officer) and we did nothing about it. The movement was then and now non-violent.
I came across another beautiful plant and this one was black with leaves spread as if reaching to the sky or perhaps in mid-prayer held open waiting for the transformation of what was up there to arrive here. It was the Black Cardinal. Another beautiful plant species named with “Black” and needed in the ecosystem. This plant is a philodendron and by definition a “love” (philos in Greek) plant. Here again I think of BLM and black love – perhaps we should stop thinking of the phase “black lives matter” as something intangible, something we can’t touch a phrase on a yard sign declaring the neighbor liberal. How about we think of BLM as Black Love Matters and see it in the trees and plants that give us life that let us breathe? The cells that make up our bodies. How about we remember that black lives are as beautiful as the Dahlia’s in bloom?
All this reminds me of Wendell Berry’s poem “The Aristocracy” – no matter how natural and good something is, not surprisingly some old stinger arrives to spoil the scene.