On Plant Blindness
A podcast I enjoy once gave a loose definition of plant blindness. They said we (modern society) are so accustomed to trees and decorative plants around our neighborhoods and places of business that we simply no longer see them.
Prior to my move, I certainly suffered from plant blindness, which is a shame as Kentucky is a naturally beautiful state. My obliviousness started early; I grew up surrounded by trees, a “holler” behind my house, countless open fields and spaces just down the road. In fact, my grandparents love to tell a story about a family trip we took to the Smokey Mountains. As we drove through, they tried to engage my cousins and me in the natural splendor just outside our window.
“Trees, rocks,” I said from the backseat. “We have all of this at home.”
Months ago, during my school’s Spring Break, I flew to Arizona to visit my husband and check out my new home. There were a few places I wanted to go, namely the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It had great reviews, and I figured we could snap some pretty pictures and be on our way.
I was not prepared to love it so much. I was not prepared for my plant blindness to disappear.
I knew there would be cacti, but I was surprised by the varieties—tall cacti that stretched to the sun, spindly cacti that looked more like spiders than plants, every shade of green and purple and blossoms of white and red. I was amazed how the dry, dusty soil beneath my feet yielded a vast array of plants and shielded a variety of insects and animals. I’ve been back to the Desert Botanical Garden a couple of times since—I even purchased a membership—but each time I am bowled over by the beauty and serenity of it.
Perhaps I am intrigued by the plants in Arizona simply because they are so alien to me. Whatever the reason, it’s given me a different appreciation for a topic I once had no interest in. I am now the proud owner of two plants that I am trying desperately to keep alive.
Tomorrow, I will fly back to Kentucky for a brief visit with my family. I’m going to take note of the trees and flowers and the green, springy grass that grows effortlessly.
I’m making an effort to no longer be blind to the plants that fill my world.