Botany has never been an interest of mine. In fact, outside of my limited study of ferns and flowers in my high school biology class, I have very little experience working with plants. One of the drawbacks of having a more analytically orientated mind is that, sometimes, I miss seeing the beauty that can be found in the natural world around me. Having spent the last few days working on local farms, I have had more than my fair share of interactions with plants…and now, I see a beauty in them that I never have before. Surprisingly enough, this newfound fascination for plants wasn’t found after having seen a vibrant, majestic flower, or even a delectable fruit. It was found in all things…a weed.
As I walked around the farm today, I discovered a few brown seeds attached to my socks. Quickly, I identified the source to be a nearby patch of high growing weeds, so I walked towards them for closer examination. After some observation, I noticed the seeds from the weed were quite sticky. Not in the gooey sense, but rather in a bur-like way. I had come across such seeds before, but never truly took a moment to fully inspect their ingenious design. These seeds could effectively travel long distances on the fur of an animal or on the socks of a random volunteer farm hand. This mode of seed transport was fascinating! After fully studying this weed, I started to walk around the farm and examine other plants and the ways in which they spread their seeds. Some were contained in fruit, and would spread through the digestion systems of birds or other animals. Other seeds were light, and could easily detach from a plant in a light breeze and be carried off in the wind to a nice plot of soil half of an acre away. Nearly every seed had a different method, some more complicated than others, of reaching the same destination: earth.
In my observation of the structure and function of seeds, I couldn’t help but recognize a connection to my own life. I’ve always believed that I possessed something valuable to mankind that was worth spreading…a seed of sorts, but determining my value to the world around me has been a journey filled with successes, failures, and self-reflection. I‘m continuously exploring new ways to make an impact on the world around me, but haven’t yet determined the most effective way to spread my seed. Will my seeds spread like burs? Through the digestive system of animals? (hopefully not) Or possibly, take flight and bring me to a place that I never imagined?