A couple of years ago, I toured a few wineries in the Sonoma Valley of California.
A few lessons stuck with me from that day. One, Sonoma is gorgeous. Two, I’m definitely allergic to red wine. Three, roses are essential to maintaining a healthy vineyard.
Okay, so the first two were more like personal observations than lessons. But the third was a bit of an aha moment.
For those who don’t know, roses are planted around vineyards as a sort of disease indicator. Roses and grapevines are susceptible to similar diseases, but roses are more sensitive and show symptoms earlier.
Roses are essentially botanical canaries in a verdant coal mine, giving vineyards a head start on saving their vines from an impending infection.
To put it another way, their sensitivity is an asset, a strength even.
To put it another (other?) way, it seems our appreciation for sensitivity to run out when it comes to members of our own species.
Sensitivity is more often than not seen as the problem, instead of a symptom of a larger problem.
Much like the rose warns of an impending infection, the sensitive among us do the same, whether it be a literal virus or a less literal one.
Sharing true pain is never an easy task and our society tends to reward this bravery with mockery and/or indifference.
Imagine what we could change, avoid, or fix if we listened to these botanical canaries amongst us.
Imagine what we could learn from these roses amongst us.
Be Kind. Be Brave. Stay Awkward.