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The Price of Beauty

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Something has devoured my flowers.

I suspect it was the deer. A family of deer (buck, doe, and two fawns) have been coming to the parkish place behind my apartment for a couple of weeks. They are beautiful, and wild, and tame, and charming. They have no fear of humans, or their dogs, though if you approach they will grudgingly move on.

They come most often in the late afternoon, and I can see them as I sit writing. Sometimes I find them hiding from the sun under a large pine tree in the front, as I walk out to get the mail. The fawns are a few weeks old at most, and I can see their legs trembling still as they stand and munch the grass, or the leaves that have fallen during the frequent summer storms.

I had planted the flower seeds sometime in June, in the 10x4 patch of ground that serves for a garden in front of my porch. I don’t recall what kind of flowers they were. I had ordered a packet of seeds for flowers that would attract butterflies. They had grown to about 8 to 10 inches tall, the largest with broad oval-shaped leaves, handsome and not at all delicate. They had not flowered, so I don’t know what kind or color they would have been. And now I will never know. '

When I woke this morning and looked out, all of the leaves had been eaten, leaving bare slender stalks standing like small green telephone poles, or an invasion of tiny slender aliens. Perhaps they will grow leaves again. But I doubt it.

I was angry at first – these are the first of anything that I had planted myself (though honestly I did little more than disturb the ground and sprinkle). And water faithfully, as instructed. But now, I suppose I can’t blame the deer; they have offered fair trade, beauty for beauty.

Perhaps beauty is the price of beauty, always a trade, beauty like energy being never created nor destroyed. The law of conservation of beauty. Perhaps that applies to many areas of life, as well, all things in balance on the seesaw of eternity.

Perhaps. But until the deer start hovering delicately over my garden like butterlies, I will regret the loss of my flowers.

 

 

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blue-white-and-red-poppy-flower-field-712876/

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On Balance

On November 13, 2015, 130 people were executed by terrorists in a devastating Paris attack. Hearts across the world beat with sympathy and fear. 

On that same day, an estimated 22,000 people died from some form of cancer, while nearly 40,000 were diagnosed with the disease. The same is true of the day before the attack, and the day after, and every day since.

It is hard for the media to be in 22,000 places at once. That is reserved for the families, friends, and medical staff. So Paris is 24-hour news. The hospital, the hospice, are not. It makes a difference in how we see the world.

The United States government spends $600 billion a year on defense. It spends $30 billion a year on research for all types of disease.

An estimated 30,000 a day died during World War II. So it is possible that that $600 billion saves 22,000 lives per day. But I have to wonder if $300 billion spent on defense (still almost twice what Number 2 China spends), and $300 billion on medical research wouldn’t save more lives, on balance.

 Maybe you can’t efficiently spend $300 billion a year on medical research. But then how efficiently are we spending $600 billion on defense?

 On balance, I choose saving as many lives as possible. On balance, I choose balance. 

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