Spring is fast approaching, and it has never been more welcome. On this precious earth, green shoots will insinuate themselves upward through the soil and raise their tender noses into the crisp air, new life from old.
And, no doubt, new life arises on distant planets in the ongoing exultation of creation. The possibilities of such life are thrilling. On earth, we have birds, insects, and more minute biota in the air. We have thousands (millions?) of species on the land. And in the sea, we have creatures who can sustain themselves despite enormous barometric pressure, lack of oxygen, and volcanic heat. Who can begin to imagine what form life may take on other worlds?
When or if we encounter such life forms, they may welcome us or not. If they are not immediately fatal or incompatible, will contact benefit both species, or one alone? Science fiction has long explored the possibilities behind that question.
Even here on earth, not all life coexists peaceably. The ongoing pandemic is only the latest example. The good news for this spring is that vaccines may protect us. Our species is worthy of life. So are others.
As much as possible, and despite the inherent contradictions, let us work to preserve life in all its amazing forms.