Inspired by Hope Jahren and her book “Lab Girl” Find out more here at the NY times or their book review podcast.
“Plants are more alive than you think they are. Science is done differently than you think it is. Both of those things matter, a lot.” Hope Jahren
Kristoffer was a small plant, not much compared to his brothers. His grandfather, spent all winter telling them “if you want to make it. You’ve got to get out there and claim your spot of sunshine. If you hesitate, someone else will take it from you.”
Their mother was right there behind him, calming them back down. “But who wants to be the first green thing out there in the morning. All of that wildlife. Insects. They’re waking up too. And they’re hungry after a long winter.”
That’s the life of the plant. Spring. Monday morning. To grow or not to grow? Where to grow. What are you going to be? Who will you be with?
Is it a real tree? Or a career tree? Will he stay with you?
You get planted. You grow. You get cut. You die.
Not relationship material.
Humans weren’t helping either.
They used to consider why they cut trees.
Now they planted them to cut them. And cut them to plant fields but not for food. No. They planted fields to make more fuel. But they used the fuel to cut more trees to plant more fields to make more fuel to use to –
It was an endless circle.
Somewhere there was a girl.
Who was in a tee shirt and flip flops and her mother’s sunglasses.
She was making notes in her journal. And saving water to send to the university to get tested.
She played with dolls and her mother’s makeup.
But she also likes the way things live. And she wants to know the answer to the question ‘why?’
She is going to be a scientist.
She is going to be a girl
She won’t mind the hours alone in a lab. Or in the field.
Science is done hands on by caring people.
She will write
And she will learn
And she will study the things other people walk by
And she will point them out
The circles in the tree
How you can study a day in the life of that tree
You know what happened to it
When it was sick
How long it lived…
She will be good at what she does.
Because she cares.
Science is not done the way we think it is
And life is more alive than we think it is…
We need caring people
To explain this to us
With excitement in their eyes.
So we can start again