Symbiosis (sim-bee-OH-sis)- 1.The relationship of two different species to each other where each provides something the other cannot provide itself. 2. A relationship between two people where each person is dependant on, and receives reinforcement from the other.
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart
as the sun rises, and they open. Pools of lace, white and pink.
And all day the black ants climb over them.
Boring their deep and mysterious holes into the curls,
craving the sweet sap, taking it away to their dark, underground cities.
Do you also hurry, half dressed and barefoot, into the garden
and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers
with their honeyed heaviness,
their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment
before they are nothing, forever
Edited from the poem "Peonies" by Mary Oliver
If you've ever seen peony buds, then you've seen them literally covered with black ants. You can see in my first picture that the buds are very hard and tough, and they need help from the ants to chew off their hard covering and bloom. And in order to attract these ants, peonies give them something very special. It's called extrafloral nectaries, and it's like a super nectar, different from regular floral nectar. It's like a drug to these ants only, who can't resist it. And it's very beneficial to them. And while they are getting their nectar fix, they will protect it by aggressivly keeping away all other insects. So in return for this wonderful treat, the ants protect the peonies from destructive insects, and chew off the tough outer covering of the buds so they can bloom. A perfect symbiosis. It used to be thought that peonies could not bloom without the ants, but that has been found to be false. They can bloom without ants, but it is much harder. What strikes me about this is how it reminds me of our relationship with God. God can take away our tough outside and make us bloom so beautifully. I daresay even more beautiful than these peonies, because we have a choice. Who would not want to do what their maker put them on this earth for, what they were born to do? Just ask the ants.
"I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people." Jer. 31:33