In some recent debates with my 15-year-old son, I have found myself quoting, of all people, Jeff Goldblum. Well, I guess not him directly, but the character he played in Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm. In the movie, when it is discovered that the all male dinosaurs have somehow managed to lay eggs and reproduce, Goldblum’s character speaks the line, “Life finds a way.”
I spoke the line myself in a conversation that seemed to stun my son. I am a bit of a realist, and I am not one to believe in wild theories or conspiracies. I don’t think the CIA assassinated JFK, or that September 11th was an inside job. I am not heavily religious, but I am also not an atheist. I mostly believe in the things I can see and touch. So with all this in mind, I told my son I believed there was life other than ours, somewhere out in space. Now, I also backed that up with the statement that I did not believe that space aliens had visited earth to kidnap people or build the pyramids.
My son, somewhat of a realist himself, but young and more open to persuasion by anyone other than his father, told me that the odds of there being life on another planet was one in a million. I agreed, but then pointed out that here we were. And I agreed it was a one in a million chance that everything pulled together in just the right way to produce our planet, but with billions and billions of stars, and an unknown amount of planets orbiting some of those stars, the chances are good that somewhere out there, life must have found a way.
Before this past winter started, I did not clear off the deck as I usually do. Nice weather and a busy schedule, and I will admit a little bit of lazy, resulted in me keeping our plant boxes right were they sat all summer, propped up on the rail of our back deck. The worst winter in decades that the weather people had promised back in September never came to be, and now here in the middle of March we are having summer-like weather. This past Thursday night, I pulled the chairs out of the garage, and Maureen and I officially opened up Deck Season with a couple of beverages outside under the stars. Our next door neighbor even joined us for a couple, and we could hear other people outside somewhere talking in the warm night.
It wasn’t until this morning that I finally stepped back out onto the deck in daylight with the intention of yanking all of the dead plants out of those boxes that I got a good look at what was happening. Although all of the flowers in the boxes were listed as annuals, somehow in the mild winter and early spring, life has once again found a way. Under the dead growth, green leaves and even some fresh buds had started to grow. So I changed my plans and did what I could to clear out as much of the dried brown stuff that I could. It wasn’t easy to pull just the old stuff without disturbing the new, as much of the new green was intertwined with the dead growth. But I am anxious to see what becomes of the new plants that made it through the winter.
So there we have it. Life has once again found a way. This time it is just to the little universe of my flower boxes, but soon it will expand to our entire yard, and then the neighborhood, and yes, maybe even the universe.