Right or Wrong. Black or White. Republican or Democrat.
It seems like, more and more, we’re pressured to choose sides in our culture, communities & politics. Personally, I’ve often been accused of making too many compromises in my life. Of not whole-heartedly siding with one team or another. Condoning “grey areas” in one’s personal life is often seen as some sort of weakness.
But it only takes a single nature walk to learn that the most impressive discoveries are neither “here” nor “there.” They’re in the in-between. The boundaries between field and forest. Ocean and dunes. River and shore. Desert and rainforest. Pasture and wild.
Scientifically, these areas that mark the transition between two distinct ecosystems are called “ecotomes.” They can be broad – like a river delta. Or narrow – like an old stone wall between a meadow and woods.
These grey areas in nature aren’t “less than.” They’re “more than.” One interesting thing about almost all ecotomes is that they’re teeming with more bio-diversity than what lies on either side of it. You’ll find more (and more unique,) kinds of plant and animal life in and around a stone wall than you will in either the meadow or forest bordering either side.
I’d like to think the same holds true on a bigger scale. That consciously choosing to take “The Middle Way,” is a sign that one believes that there is more fertile ground in compromise than in absolutes. Maybe one day people will realize that choosing “either/or” is actually less courageous than putting your foot down firmly in the middle.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s go for a spring walk along the back edge Beekman 1802 Farm – an ecotome between field and forest. Some of our most interesting and fleeting discoveries are found during walks in the springtime (another “in-between” dividing winter and summer.) Come along…