A Botanist

A botanist is a natural historian. A collector of facts and events that he employees in the speculation of one's influence on the other. A botanist listens as the ancient seas of the Ordivician tell stories 450 million years old. He can feel the impact of an asteroid 65 million years ago, smell the soot from increased volcanism, and give witness to the subsequent diversification of mammals and angiosperms. In his mind, he can not only see the glaciers of the Pliestocene melt and distribute the great soils of the Midwest, but he can smell the tundra and hear the Mammoth’s call. He sees anthropogenic fires, the hypsithermal, the prairie pennisula, the bloody sword of DeSoto and John Deere's polished plow. He tries desperately to explain how today's mistakes and yesterday's blindsightedness form the inevitable consequences of tomorrow. And as the perpetual inaction of society oozes onward, he need only think of glaciers and oceans, extinctions and speciations, and the ever expanding march of time to know that maybe, just maybe, the sky isn't falling, just yet.


  1. Marvelous. Hmm, that gives me an idea for a post :)

    btw - so great to finally meet you at the BioBlitz.

  2. I adore this! Fabulous writing. I'm sharing with a naturalist friend on Facebook (this passage would describe him beautifully as well).

  3. Huh... that makes you... a botanist! Congratulations! (See, I can be funny too.)

    I like the new format. I hope you have time to post on it more often.

  4. Ted-It was great meeting you as well. We still need to clock some field time.

    Debi-Thanks! This had been sitting as a draft for over a year. I finally decided to post it, though hesitantly, because I hadn't posted in so long. I'm glad someone enjoyed it. I feared it would come off cheesy. There is no room for romance in science, though scientists often thrive on it.

    Scott- Thanks.

  5. Nicely said; it's hard to explain what we see and why it matters to a disinterested public.


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