Found in various scribblings, offered for what it’s worth: in three parts ~ my coming into the botanical fold. A retrospective look at the evolution of a * boZo…
I mean really. What kind of male science student would choose to study plants? Botany wasn’t even in the mix of options as I changed majors for the fourth time my sophomore year at Auburn. I had rambled from Pre-med to Pre-dent to Psych to Pre-law and finally, forever-I-promise-this-time mom, to General Biology–at which juncture, I was faced with two simple choices of direction. Plantae or Animalia. In the two-kingdom world of those times, the choice of where to go from that jumping-off place was a no-brainer: I would study animals, naturally.
The real Biology Man I aspired to be was meant to hoist up a pair of studly binocs and watch an osprey deftly plucking on the wing an emerald-green bass from the Cahaba River; to thrill with a vicarious appetite for raw nature as the raptor ate its prey alive, silhouetted against towering cumulus from a pine snag. It was the Wild Kingdom way. Guys studied action-creatures of the living world. They investigated locomotion, competition, rutting, and nature red in tooth and claw.
Plants offered none of that. They just sat there, silent and rooted in place. To the gentler-sexed biologists, then, were left these fixed, safe and clawless creatures, to arrange tastefully in fancy vases. It was that cut-and-dried to me in those days.
But alas, despite my academic gender bias, before it was all done and the ink was dry on the Masters diploma, and to my amazement, I had became an 11th hour convert to botany. That one certain day trumpeted an epiphany that called me to conversion.