Most people understand the words “to love and to be loved in return” in yesterday’s thank-you note as referring to a relationship primarily romantic. Well, I wasn’t. There are all sorts of love: the love of a parent for a child and that of a child for a parent; I was referring to these actually. There is also the love for plants or gardening or beauty, or for a pet dog or cat or parakeet. Someone else may love sailing or extreme skiing or marathon running. There is as well the love between friends and relatives. As I age, the love of my family and friends and relatives is what sustains me and comforts me and invigorates me more and more. As a mother, I can be overly sensitive and regard disapproval from a child as rejection. But all is well, as I mentioned yesterday. All is indeed well when a child apologises for inconsiderate behaviour and through various ways shows his or her affection.
Today’s words of gratitude come from an event I attended at Bonn University focusing on plants, hosted by the Biodiversity Network in Bonn, also known as BION, which is holding its first international conference this week.
- I am thankful for ideas that stimulate my mind, particularly when they showcase some intrinsic property of plants. Yesterday I listened to a brilliant talk about biomimetics or biomimicry, specifically about the Lotus Effect, by its foremost exponent in Bonn. This property of the self-cleaning surface of lotus leaves is being used for self-cleaning exterior paints and work clothes. Plants have truly amazing structures and qualities!
- I am grateful to have had a substantial conversation with a neighbour, whom I was surprised to find at the biomimetics talk, as she was as well to find me there (probably more surprised than I was). We’ve only exchanged greetings before as she passes by while I am gardening.
- What I am thankful for about that conversation is getting to know that, as a retired person, she volunteers at the children’s clinic here in Bonn, assisting with children undergoing chemotherapy. Many come from all over the world, as well as other parts of Germany, and so there are rooms provided for parents to stay. This is truly something to be grateful for, to have this kind of facility for the care of children and their parents here. I am also grateful that I have come to know this lovely person better; she has always spoken very kindly to me, and now I realize that the gentleness and kindness in her eyes reflect the compassion inside.