At a ‘zine reading the other night a friend read a story about an aloe vera plant that she neglected to water until it was grey, brown and orange. She described the hesitation to throw it out, and how she kept watering it and slowly over time it came back but she couldn’t bear to clear out the old growth, instead leaving a nest of sorts for the new aloe vera.
Out hiking today in the desert of Southern New Mexico I was reminded of how this is a largely human ethic. Disintegrating cactus, brush, and the occasional skull serve notice of the quickly changing environment and seasons. The cycle of life and death is constantly in motion.
This may be why modern humans handle death so poorly, we have an idea that if we can just keep everything as it is our lives will never change. I think it also answers at least part of the question of why we strangle, smother, and otherwise demand stasis from the things and people in our lives.