A bright splash of colour on one of my early morning rambles pulled me up short. I had been walking with my head down, deep in thought – there’s a lot to think about.
Lifting my head as I navigated the corner, there it was, draped over a tree bough for support, hanging in floral chandeliers of rich bright pink over the path. It took my breath away.
Autumn is the best time of the year in the Northern Rivers region. The temperature dials down to a more comfortable level. The skies smile sunny and blue. Gardens, no longer summer-worthy profusions of colour, subtly begin to wind down for a winter rest.
That’s what made this beautiful vine stand out. There was so little competition. I consulted Dr Google (doesn’t everyone?) who informed me the plant was Mexican in origin and called Antigonon leptopus , common name, Coral Vine.
A quick read of the cultivation notes advised against growing in small gardens. The Coral Vine is known as a weed in some places for its rampant growth and prolific tuberous roots. I guess I’ll have to admire it from afar, especially for its tenacity, if not for its beauty and collaborative approach to living.
The Coral Vine depends on other plants for support. Its tendrils reach out in an act of faith, somehow believing there will be something to grasp hold of. And there usually is. Viewed in slow motion photography, I’ve watched fascinated as the thread-like filaments waver and reach.
I have written before on plant synergy. How plants, fungi and soil bacteria for example, rely on each other to survive and thrive. Herein lies another lesson for me.
Like the Coral Vine I think it’s natural to need support, and to be able to offer it to others. It’s not just a matter of survival – that’s not what I’m prepared to settle for. I want to thrive – even in these days and months of uncertainty. Blessed with the advantage of being born into a rich country with a good health system, I owe it to all those not similarly blessed to be grateful for the bounty I have – to thrive.
Certainty in life is taken for granted, an illusion barely questioned because of the everyday distractions we like to tell ourselves are necessary and important.
But what if there is no certainty?
I plan to emulate the beautiful Coral Vine. I want to be resilient, to bloom with hope in the face of uncertainty which, long experience has shown me is always lurking in the shadows. When challenges like COVID19 present, our focus becomes more acute. There are fewer distractions big enough to compete. It’s then uncertainty steps boldly out of the shadows and becomes more difficult to ignore on this kind of global scale.
“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”Albert Einstein
When doomsayers, fearing a weedy takeover, stomp on the vines and try to root out the tubers of hope, I have faith that some will survive, sending tiny shoots forth to become tendrils waving and grasping for something to hang onto. I’ll be here with my hand out.
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”John Lennon