Many desert plants have a very brief life cycle: they can run through the whole course of life in just a few days after rain. As described by a friend from Gansu province, a certain flowering plant in the Gobi Desert, on the heels of a soaking rain, is able to sprout, take roots, grow leaves, blossom and bear fruit all within a lifespan of merely eight days. Then seeds of the new generation will enter the same inactive, waiting phase of existence. In the Gobi Desert, which seldom sees a single sufficient rain in a whole year, a plant may wait two years for only eight days' glory of life. For these desert plants, contrary to common sense, waiting constitutes the main part of life.
All life involves a waiting phase. We can even go so far as to say that a living thing, without the ability to wait, is not qualified for existence in this world.
Waiting is "zero-level dynamism". Just consider: With its engine revving, a car, though still at zero-speed, will start to move when the clutch is released. In the same vein, waiting can also be compared to a nuclear reactor at zero-power critical condition, which, upon the removal of the control rods, will begin to generate and send electricity to the grid system. Waiting is thus a form of proactive preparation. The waiting ones are always prepared to start upon receiving the right signal.
In addition, the waiting ones are sober-minded. They know the waiting phase of life calls for ready acceptance of silence and solitude, as well as a cool head to size up the situation and act at the right moment. This waiting includes the potential for action and embodies the tensions of life. There may of course be dead seeds, but otherwise, no seeds will oversleep and refuse to wake up or stay idle and hesitate over whether to take action. They are highly alert to the changing temperature and humidity with a view to seizing the right chance. What is more surprising to us is that they even know the direction of gravity. By dint of a certain sense organ in them they let their young rots strike downward and their sprouts shoot upward. Some seeds receive even more care from their mother plants. For instance, a species of toadflax boasts a sensitive mechanism which directs its stems to carry its capsules away from the light and release the seeds in places cool and moist, thus more congenial to germination. Doesn't this show a mother's affection towards her offspring?
A living being should be good at both growing and waiting, two phases of life which alternate and complement each other. This is the cycle determined by Nature and characteristic of all lives. The earth's rotation makes a day, divided into light and dark. And when the earth has revolved around the sun once, we have a year. Seasons are created only because the earth's axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees. So we can see the growth and dormancy of lives on earth are conditioned by the cycles of Nature. The two states of existence of life, growing and waiting, are just the results of life's adaptation to Nature's rhythms.
For all forms of life, the waiting phase can be seen as an arrow on a taut bowstring. Aimed at growth, it silently waits for the right signal from Nature.
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