“I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me.”
Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Waking up to sunshine, as most of Britain has done since May, is a beautiful way to start the day. Yet having had no rain for almost two months, our green and pleasant lands have become scorched and without colour. London’s Royal Parks look like African plains, as resident herds of deer wander slowly through acres of parched, yellow grasses.
Now that water is scarce, plants and grasses dry out if not watered by human hands. Shrinking in size and putting on hold their usual exuberant mid-summer growth, flowers and shrubs are forced to find new ways of survival as their environment fails to offer support. In these harsh, unusual conditions, flora and fauna alike have to prosper or perish – drawing on the last of their resources deep within their roots. Some adapt with newfound resilience while others change form.
In the same way, we sometimes find ourselves without the conditions to flourish. We might shrink in size like many of our British grasses and plants have done in the heat – or we may stop flowering altogether. We stop sending colour out into the world around us. We dig deep into our stored resources and learn how to survive – come what may. We become familiar with what it means for us to be resilient when the conditions around us cannot give us what we need.
When rain finally did come last week, nature bursts back to life, announcing her return with even more vibrant colours and greenery. What was dried is now alive again and humming with bees and butterflies.
Just as with nature, our environment will surely change. What we need to thrive will return, whether in a day, a week, months and years. And so we will return to vibrancy – perhaps it will be in a changed form or with more enthusiasm and zest than before. But it will be trusting in the process of renewal that enables us to get through the seemingly endless drought …