Meg Buerkel Hunn, Advisory Council Chair

Sep 18, 2023 | Experiences, Information

Little Things Make a Difference

My kitchen companion is a Pom Pom Palm. I got her years ago, it was love at first sight… maybe because she made me smile in the middle of a hard day. Lucky for me she’s also quite forgiving, as I am not the best plant mama! Yes, I know I am anthropomorphizing a plant. And yet… she has lessons to teach (at least to me).

These past months have been hard ones. Our backyard garden has struggled with the summer heat and drought. So far, this year’s monsoon has yielded very little rain or relief. I watch as the Rio Grande runs lower and lower, and I think about all who depend upon the river – the plants, the animals, the humans – and my heart starts to crumble. Wildfires are always a risk here, but have been a devastating reality in Canada for much of the summer and absolutely heartbreaking in Hawaii. While wildfires burn in some places, in others, deluges of water from large hurricanes and other storms have caused great damage and disruption. It’s hard to accept that our (human) behaviors have influenced and impacted the climate of our world and it’s even more difficult to see how anything I do can make a difference.

That’s where my kitchen companion, the Pom Pom Palm comes in, and her lived wisdom… she takes life as it comes. She’s very accepting and flexible (at least the green parts of her are!). She stays put, she doesn’t run away to a better home, and, so far, she hasn’t given up on me. She possesses hope and a sense of humor (I mean, curly leaves?!?!).

She can still make me smile. She’s like a little cheerleader of sorts. When I feel ‘stuck,’ she reminds me that little things can make a difference. Growing and sharing food with neighbors. Tolerating (even inviting!) more insects in my yard. Buying from local farmers. Picking up trash on walks. Talking with others. Learning more about how we are all interconnected – not only human beings, but plants, animals, soil, air, mountains, rivers.

I am grateful for this interspecies relationship I share with my green, smiling, hopeful, forgiving kitchen companion. Who/what helps and teaches you in your moments of despair?

~ Meg