Star Jasmine on bamboo trellis

My little Star Jasmine creeper is cautiously finding its way along the trellis. It hasn’t bolted quite as I expected, but is making slow and steady progress. Near the gate, the delicate, waxy Hoya is climbing up the inside of my garden wall despite the sign on the other side prohibiting it. Plants aren’t easily discouraged by human vanities, no matter how polite.


It got me thinking about the nature of plants to ‘reach’.

On my morning walk I turned the idea over in my thoughts. Everywhere I looked plants were aspiring to be somewhere else, something bigger, something better than they already were. The ground-covers reached out laterally. The lofty palms waved high above me. Huge Norfolk Island pines in the cemetery soared many metres above the headstones, while beneath the ground, their roots sought purchase, diving deep to support the towering growth above. But why? What drove this ‘rush to reach’?


The obvious answer is their will to live, to proliferate. It is in their nature to reach. They reach for what it takes to sustain and reproduce life. But sometimes the obvious isn’t always that obvious when you delve into it.

Despite all manner of vicissitudes, plants keep on striving to fulfil their inner code, their destiny. We hack them back, plant them in impossible places, deprive them of enough light, water and sustenance of soil – but still they persist.

What I learnt from plants is this: we all reach out to sustain  life, to survive. Together with the instinct to procreate, it’s one of two of our most basic instincts. But is that enough, to just survive?

Can we, like plants, grow around and through the obstructions in our lives; thrive despite not having ideal conditions, or even because of their absence, to be the best possible versions of us?

For this to happen, I need to embrace an important difference between the notions of ‘reach’ and ‘aspire’. I cannot not just ‘reach’ to sustain life, but rather, I must ‘aspire’ to really live it. I must breathe life into my goals by making considered, mindful choices, if I am to grow to greater heights and not just survive.

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

― Dr. SeussOh, The Places You’ll Go!




vb (intr)

1. (usually foll by: to or after) to yearn (for) or have a powerful or ambitious plan, desire, or hope (to do or be something): to aspire to be a great leader.
2. to rise to a great height
[C15: from Latin aspīrāre to breathe upon, from spīrāre to breathe]
asˈpirer n
asˈpiring adj




35 responses to “Aspire

  1. Once your star jasmine gets established you’ll see its aspirations to take over the garden. And thanks for reminding me of the Dr Seuss quote. A cousin gave that book to our daughter as an 18th birthday present. Some years later, I was asked to choose a poem to read at my nephew’s wedding and couldn’t think of anything better than that!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ha ha! Thanks for the warning. I have found this one less invasive than the Chinese jasmine. I’m glad Dr Seuss brought back good memories. His wisdom is profound albeit wrapped in catchy rhyme. Thanks for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Plants are amazing. Give one the tiniest crack in the sidewalk and before you know it, up it sprouts.

    The sign amused me, by the way. It reminded me of the “No Smoking” ones you used to be able to see separating the smoking and non smoking areas in many restaurants. I think the idea was that the smoke would read it and good manners would prevent it going any further.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Robyn, I needed this post tonight to put some clarity into my world. Reaching and aspiring. I sometime get very discouraged when I turn on the news lately and see our politicians aspiring to become the leaders of our country, when they should be aspiring to be better people. It makes me so sad to see what we have become here in the US and even sadder still to realize this is being played out in the media for all to see. It crushes me. The soil it is creating is not a sustainable or nurturing soil. It truly crushes me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Clare, I wish I could give you a big hug. I feel your anguish, truly I do. I have been watching events in the US on the news. Of course the media picks up the sordid and the sensational, sadly that is what their audience demands so we can’t blame them entirely. Even so, I fervently hope that Donald Trump does not get selected. My instincts and indeed his own words condemn him. Unfortunately his appeal is based on a lie. People hear what they want to hear. I know little of the other candidates. You put it so eloquently when you said rather than aspiring to be leaders they should aspire to be better people. (loud applause).
      Politics in Australia disappoint me. People seem un-engaged and complacent. We all complain but I believe we get the politicians we deserve largely. I must admit the whole thing turns me off so I guess I’m part of the problem.

      I’m glad you found some comfort in my post.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.