When did you last look closely at a plant?
I mean really examined it – made a purposeful, detailed inspection. Some plants invite this kind of regard. They stand out from the crowd because they’re special, spectacular or unusual. Others are more ubiquitous, common place, quietly going about their ‘plant-erly’ lives under our radar.
One such plant in the latter category is the Rhoeo, also called Moses in the Cradle. It’s a native of Belize, Guatemala , and southern Mexico
Look closely and the inspiration for the name becomes clear. Tiny white flowers peep out from a cradle-like bud beneath spiky green leaves underlined in deep purple. Highly toxic to dogs, Moses in the Cradle is nevertheless a favourite in my area as a street-scaping plant. It’s mostly used for mass planting, fitting the criteria for colour, hardiness, and the current landscaping fashion for structural shapes, in both public and private spaces.
One day recently I took the time to look closely at the Rhoeo, to contemplate its ‘metaphor factor’ a quality I constantly seek in everything. I thought about how apt the common name was – Moses in the Cradle – which began a whole train of thought for me about the potential that lies within. This small shrub encapsulates its past, its present and its future; and all of this at the same time in this little plant. The past is represented in its genetic expression, the present in its current form and the future in its tiny seeds.
The hidden treasures that lie within a plant, its flowers, its seeds, may be thought of as its potential; this led me to contemplate human potential.
Each one of us has the ‘seeds’ within to be great in whatever form that takes, however we may define ‘great’. Just as the plant holds with in it, its past, its present, and its future (and here is the part I find fascinating – these notional time frames are held simultaneously), I believe so too, do we humans. Memory represents our past, consciousness our present, and hopes, expectations, dreams our future, even at a cellular level.
I don’t meant these aspects of our life span progression are not played out in a linear way in the usual sense we have of time, but rather are encapsulated within the concept of ‘potential’, existing contemporaneously in our consciousness. Each interacts with the other depending on context.
I look back to draw confidence from past achievements to bolster my confidence for accomplishing future goals and I experience this process in the present.
Are we all not time travellers then? Traversing our past, our present and future to harvest our potential.
How do you think about your potential?
Popular park trees, full of potential. Notice the ‘Thong discardus’ litter on the ground beneath. (Thongs are also known as flip flops in some places).