Impactful. The Century Plant or Agave Americana, can live between 10 and 30 years. It can grow as tall as 2 meters tall and 3 meters wide. Their famous cousins, known mostly for their use as natural sweeteners, medicinal properties, fibers for weaving and alcoholic concoctions are known world-wide. This particular ribbon-like structure needs rocky, sandy soil. It can survive in dry conditions and is tolerant of heat. Impressive. One Century Plant can make you stop in your tracks. It can make you stare in awe. It should. It has lived for decades and withstood harshness, still looking beautiful. An amazing feat, truly. It’s white-green ribbons bending gently and invitingly. The Agave Americana is the perfect bow that tops nature’s gift: the ground we walk on.

Yet, if you look closely, something else survives these exact same conditions as this majestic plant. Something that often goes unnoticed. It is a mix. A combination of nature’s creations. Blades of grass and ground cover plants, rarely noticed. Once your sight is caught by the majestic height and beauty of the Century Plant, why look down? What is so special about blades of grass and ground cover plants? They are not majestic, nor tall, nor beautiful. They are not “destined to be big”. Yet they are there, thriving, present, beside the majestic ribbons of nature.

Nature’s wisdom. It allows for the ordinary to accomplish an extraordinary role. They are an elemental component to survival. Protecting the earth from erosion and holding on to the little rain that falls each year. Allowing the Century Plant to thrive and grow towards its magnificent presence.

Nature’s wisdom. Do we know how to emulate it? As humans, we often look at the majestic, the beautiful, the impressive and impactful. Yet quickly turn a blind eye to the plain, the ordinary, the common. Little do we realize, we need this “garden-variety”.

Nature’s wisdom. Once the majestic Century Plant, the Agave Americana, flowers, it dies. Blades of grass and ground covering, well taken care of, can surpass the Agave and live up to 40 years. Take away one from the other and the Agave’s life span might be cut short. Take away one from the other and green blades of grass and ground coverings might not be tended to in order to accomplish their role. This simple symbiosis must be imitated by humanity.

We need to nurture and protect every variety of human on this earth. We need to recognize why one needs the other. How we can thrive together, and protect each other, and live in a harmonious balance. After all, nature’s wisdom has been around far longer than we have.

“The little grassroots people can change this world.”

Wangari Maathai

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