Sessile Safari

S: I spent two very quiet weeks in Bozeman, Montana, primarily looking at plants. Week One: Medicinal Plants. Week Two: Invasive Plant Ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Somehow, my two summer weeks of field courses for the Master Science of Science Education program at Montana State University were focused on plants. A week of good plants, a week of bad plants… In my classes, we picked plants, photographed and sketched them, made salves out of them, drove to them and hiked through them, studied them, did statistics about them, presented about them, and discussed them for hours. They are medicine and they are noxious. They silently use their powers for good and for evil.

A: The passion I had for plants as an undergrad had slightly worn; yet I appreciated the reminder for holistic health and scientific updates on invasion biology. I still get excited about plants. I see tiny (or huge) silent explosions of life with every single one. They are good at growing where they shouldn’t and make no excuses for their failures.

F: Do plants take over us, or do we pretend to take over them? Are plants just simply opportunists?

A: Since I moved to Houston, I don’t see mountains often. This trip, combined with a week in Iceland, injected me with priceless and quiet mountains. In Montana, mountains spread everywhere in overlapping goodness, my old stomping ground. Surprisingly, the mountains and striking landscapes in both Iceland and Montana are similar, and in both places (even in Texas), the sloping hills were filled with nitrogen-fixing lupines. They fix the soil and hold everything together around the world.

R: Peoples’ health relies on plants. Wildlife relies on plants. Other plants may invade on those same things. Important paths through plants guide us to higher peaks, and yes, more plants. Unlike me, plants are quiet and sessile. This was obvious to me hiking through the wilderness.

I: As I worked in my dorm (my first ever), quiet and sessile for two weeks, I realized how I much needed that quiet time to reflect on this year of noisy movement. I learned a thing or two from plants.


© 2015 Jess Rowell

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