With warm weather teasing the Boston area, it’s a little surprising to find a reminder of spring in your fridge drawer. But a few days ago I’d discovered a head of cabbage that I’d almost fully shorn was bursting forth with new life.
I don’t know if this cabbage is alive by the biological definition of “life” (if I plant it, will it grow?) but it certainly reminds me of the tenacity of life. If the carrot you’re chewing on is still crisp, you can bet it’s because the millions of cells that constitute it are still, in their own way, still “breathing and kicking.” I suppose there is a morbid edge to this realization — not unlike hearing the lobster tapping the side of a boiling pot — but truthfully, the world around us is teeming with life, and with every breath and heartbeat we are killing thousands of organisms that would otherwise do us in.
If you meditate on this long enough you may come to the conclusion that there’s no good reason why any one of us is any more deserving of life than a whale, a tree, a paramecium, or a sad little cabbage at the bottom of the crisper drawer. And I suppose there are many ways you can respond to that conclusion, but the one that I’ve come to is a deep sense of gratitude for the inexplicable privilege of living.