“What is real?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit.
And as the beloved children’s tale continues, the Velveteen Rabbit learns what love is:
It is love rubbed raw.
It is commitment to another’s good.
It is devotion to the object of your love.
It is bruising and scarring.
It is transforming.
In a world of synthetics, reproductions, mannequins and virtual reality, real stands apart.
Real is genuine and authentic, uncompromisingly original.
Art and precious gems undergo rigorous authentication processes to determine whether they are worthless imitations or priceless treasures. A fake designer purse looks like the original Gucci bag, but it simply isn’t. And the adage of caution warns: Don’t be fooled.
I had a coworker who watered the plant above her cubicle for a full six months. It was a beautiful plant with long, strapping leaves and a tropical white flower. Every two weeks, the Plant People, a maintenance crew, came and cared for the greenery, dusting the leaves, checking for disease, fertilizing and so forth.
When they passed up my coworker’s favorite plant she call them out, “Hey, you forgot this one!”
The gardener replied, “That’s not one of ours. That plant is fake.”
Sure enough, it was silk and plastic and wire with a very wet plaster base inside the pot.
Real can be tricky. It can be difficult to identify and more difficult to become real.
But no one doubts the authenticity of the rose growing on the stem from the shrub planted in the ground. It is living and connected. It gives off its scent as further proof. In fact, it’s the very crushing that produces it’s perfume, the grinding that produces it’s oil, the distillation that preserves its scent.
No one doubts the miracle of the dahlia petals, curled and blushed unfurling, as they bloom atop the plant that bears them. They produce that which the seed and root dictate because they are connected.
Real is connectedness and life and death.
Real is precious and rare.