When I was in primary school I had a teacher who told us the following:
“Now, just because red roses from the florist are expensive doesn’t make them more valuable as a gift than lovingly picked veldblommetjies.* Your mother will probably appreciate the field flowers more.”
Which is a lovely sentiment, except at the time I should have pointed out: “Sorry ma’am, but if I were to tell my mother that I had been frolicking out in a field she would give me a hiding.” City living, you know. Pedophiles hang out looking for little girls in the fields that are left that are not informal settlements or rubbish dumps or both.
Fast forward twenty years. I am lucky enough to work in a nature reserve**. There’s nature here and it’s safe. So I went out walking during lunch time. I noticed a bright red flower cluster. I decided to pick it for my Artist Way task: to collect five flowers and press them as if you were in toddler school.
Very soon I had five different types of flower.
But the collection didn’t stop there, because I was now in “flower hunt” mode and there are many many types of flower
and grass seeds
and tree bark.
I’ve no idea how I’m going to press the latter but hey, this was fun.
At the rist of waxing philosophical, here’s a thought: when the first flower bloomed it was a major step forward in plant evolution. But then the next plant didn’t think “hey, it’s been done” and didn’t bother to evolve too. No. It changed colour. Added petals. Changed the petal shape. Changed the size. Changed the location on the stem. All the flowers are based around the same idea, but you wouldn’t argue that just because the idea was taken, it wasn’t worth it for the second, or the third, or the thousandth plant to try it out. Just because an idea is already implemented doesn’t make it worthless to implement it in your own unique way.
** On the way back to the office it did occur to me that it’s probably not allowed to pick flowers in a nature reserve. Oh well, too late now.