I'd like to introduce you to a good friend of mine, someone who is a constant inspiration to me. She sits outside my apartment building, in a tiny, nine foot square patch of earth over a subway station and beside a road that gets more traffic than your average highway.
There she sits, amid a constant stream of pollution, noise, and neglect. During the summer, when she is at her busiest, I care for her a little, watering and occasionally trimming her verdant hair. The only other attention she receives is rather more malignant. My landlady has pursued a personal vendetta against her: every autumn, the poor deranged nut hacks away at my friend, chops her down to a mere stub in the earth, and does her best to plow up the ground beneath her.
Every spring, my friend returns, reanimates—more lively, bushier and more beautiful than ever. Her sturdiness, courage, perseverance, and friendly indifference to every assault against her fill me with respect and admiration. I sometimes wonder, "who could have taught this creature to be so modestly bold, so quietly self-assertive, so humbly heroic?"
As the botanically-inclined among my readers may have already observed, my friend is of the genus dicentra, more commonly known as "bleeding heart." I'm not sure whether I particularly like that name (though it does not appear to cramp my friend's style in the least); but it at least suggests something about a certain well-known stereotype applied by neocons upon a political lefty like me.
For if I am to be styled a "bleeding heart liberal," well then, let me take that as a compliment, and let me model my liberal life as far as possible after the seemingly indestructible beauty, creativity, and ingenuity of my friend in the earth surrounded by pavement, concrete, and human indifference to the lessons of living Nature.
Video Time: On the left (naturally), the trailer to Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth. On the right, a bizarre advertisement for carbon dioxide that seems to have been produced by the Hallmark company. I will merely show them and allow the discerning viewer to draw his and her conclusions.