This Easter morn I arose to see what surprises I might award. Acting as the mid-morning bunny I placed brightly colored eggs and chocolate rabbits on the dining room table. My actions I guess were not all that unexpected.
But what awaited me outside was startling. As part of my morning ritual, I looked out over the gopher tortoise mound in my back yard. The tortoise was not yet awake, but something else caught my attention. There on top the sand was what looked like a bright yellow piece of plastic. Who, I thought, was littering this sacred space? Maybe, I mused, my family had gotten up early and placed a plastic Easter egg there for me to stumble upon. Perhaps it was a bit of refuse unearthed by the tortoise yesterday evening. She had been rolling stones up and away from her tomb like home. The nearly phosresece yellow object was none of these things. What I discovered, upon closer inspection, was that some time in the night, a slime mold had arisen.
Slime molds are colonies of protozoan that feed on bacteria found amongst decaying vegetation. If I were to disturb this slime mold, any displaced cells would find their way back to re-unite. Professor John Tyler Bonner, who has spent a lifetime studying slime molds argues that Slime molds are "no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviors that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia -- that is, simple brains."
What a gift these beings before me. Though they are separate individuals, they cooperate together to advance their life giving agendas, which if you give it some hard thought, includes predating upon other beings.
That’s what we do too. Might we also find ways to cooperate even though we evolved to harm and experience tragic displacing and despairing events in our lives?
Two thousand years ago the followers of Jesus were abruptly and violently displaced, yet they came back together. After looking into the dark tomb, they did not find death, but the good news of what our species may yet obtain or evolve to.
This morning I did not see grandmother tortoise coming out of the ground as I expected, but I did see life of another kind. Sure it’s slimy and predatory, but it’s beautiful.
As a predator, sometimes too slick for my own good or others, I pray for the wisdom to stick together with others, so that our kind may arise, arise!