This week has been pretty tough so far for multiple reasons, some better than others. With particularly emotive topics, I tend to go quieter than usual while I process my thoughts and often turn to the unspeaking world for guidance, because too many voices on a subject make my mind even more cluttered than it normally is. Nature, plants, and gardens often provide me with the metaphors I need to find peace and clarity with a situation, and a gentle stroll this afternoon to stir up my blood flow and settle my mind led me to an inconspicuous hot house full of beautiful and exotic plants. A true feast for the eyes and nose, and a very welcome break from the bleak surroundings that preceded it. A few phone snaps in, I noticed this one particular plant and I haven't seen before, and it looked spiky. After some initial hesitance from my normally sensory-seeking, but this week weary, hands and heart I was surprised to discover the most wonderful springy texture to the leaves and ended up standing for a while giving them all a gentle and soothing squeeze. Sometimes our initial impression of a situation can rightly make us wary, and we back off from something we suspect might harm us. But how many springy leaves do we miss by doing this? How many new experiences escape our grasp? And how do we know which leaves to touch and which leaves to leave? Pondering this question tonight, and feeling grateful that curiosity (once again!) got the better of me as far as this plant was concerned, as well as past situations that have proved to be more spring than spike. I'm also curious to know how others decide which leaves to love and which leaves to leave (metaphorically speaking) - any thoughts?