Every morning I visit my garden, inspecting every plant, anxiously waiting for produce to appear. Yesterday, the most beautiful caterpillar was munching on my parsley. It was fascinating to watch him, so busy eating a leaf and then moving to the next stem.
Later, he was gone. I looked everywhere ... other plants, the ground beneath the parsley pot ... and nothing. I hoped that we'd see him again ... perhaps transformed into a beautiful mariposa in our garden.
In the evening, again inspecting my garden, I saw him ... hanging from a silk harness ... already transforming. At that moment, I felt such a sense of privilege ... I was witnessing something special. The knowledge that no one else in the world would see that particular caterpillar turn into a butterfly was awe inspiring ... and I felt gratitude.
I began to think about all of the elements which came together for that one moment ... the plants in our area that encouraged the butterfly to choose this as an appropriate place to lay her eggs ... the people who planted them and chose not to cover them with toxic chemicals ... the weather, temperatures, etc. And I wanted to do more to encourage a larger mariposa population.
At the farmer's market, I bought beautiful tomatoes. These tomatoes have never been refrigerated nor have they seen a grocery shelf ... they came straight from the soil to me.
Again I thought about how it got to me ... the seed, perhaps collected from last year's crop ... the farmer who prepared the soil and planted that seed ... the water & sun that nurtured it ... the person whose hands placed the tomato into a box ... the truck that drove it to me. My thoughts continued, thinking about how the farmer learned to grow things ... perhaps from his father ... and to his children who are fed, clothed and housed because of the profits from the crops. Maybe one of those children will grow up to do great things ... maybe solve the world's environmental problems. As with the butterfly, I felt gratitude and wanted to protect the process.
It's the web of life ... everything connected in some way to our past and our future.
Developing gratitude allows us to see all of the ingredients required to bring that perfect tomato to our table. It encourages us to protect the process.
What if we develop gratitude for the natural world and work to protect it ... what would happen?
Someday soon, a beautiful mariposa will glide through my garden ... maybe it will land for a moment and we'll look at each other ... and I'll feel gratitude.