Here’s a little known fact about me: Early in my college career, I considered majoring in Philosophy. I was kind of a strange, studious sort in those days, prone to thinking deep, somewhat morose thoughts.
Anyway, better sense took hold of me and I decided that being able to earn a living might be more fun.
All this is to explain why I might, from time to time, delve into deeper, more weighty topics.
Such as, have you ever considered the Mesquite tree and how it relates to our human condition, the pressures society places on us, the struggles in our day-to-day lives, and our desire to break free from our bondage and choose a life of purpose and meaning?
Well. Good thing I’m here, then.
The Mesquite tree is fairly common where I live. So common that we pretty much take it for granted.
Dog, on the other hand, loves the Mesquite. If she sees one when we’re out on a walk, she gets excited and pulls me toward it. Because for her, Mesquite trees are like candy stores. She absolutely adores the bean pods.
I’ve never tasted one, but I’m told they’re rather sweet. Native people used to grind them into a flour and make little cakes (gluten free!). But the pods apparently have medicinal value too, and supposedly you can even make alcohol with them. (Hmm. Might have to look into that.)
There’s a park near our home — actually, it’s not so much a park as a ravine where the city stuck in some trees and shrubs and called it good.
It has several large Mesquites. Yesterday Dog pulled me toward one and started munching away happily, and I came *thisclose* to stepping on this baby:
According to a book on desert trees, this variety of Mesquite is “well armed.”
The Mesquite adapted itself to live in a very harsh environment. It developed a means to survive with minimal water, and set up defenses to protect itself from marauding creatures wanting to eat its leaves.
Yet in spite of its fierce thorns, the Mesquite was known by Pima Indians as the Tree of Life — because every part of the Mesquite was useful, either as food, fuel, medicine, even hair dye! (Don’t forget the alcohol.)
So consider for a moment how much we can be like a Mesquite. Whatever our hardships in this world, whatever sufferings we have to endure or the defenses we put up as a result of them, we too are of value. And as such, we can choose to maintain a sense of worth by living a life of purpose and meaning.
That’s something to smile about.
And if nothing else, we can make a dog smile by giving them a simple treat.
If you care to learn more about the wondrous Mesquite, here’s a great post about them.