Friday, September 12, 2008
A quest is a search for something important . . .
The search is just as important as the finding
"A quest is never easy. There are always challenges and obstacles along the way. These challenges are necessary, because as the questors successfully overcome them, they build up: knowledge, self-confidence and determination. Without these attributes, they would be unable to reach their goal.
Thus in a quest, the search is just as important as the finding!
"Everyone should take on quests during their lives.
Whether big or small, quests help to make us better than we were before.
"Quests can improve our thinking skills, teach us valuable things
about ourselves and others, and help us grow into confident people."
Loxogramme dictyopteris (lance fern)
Photo copyright Dave Woodward
A scholar recently visited my Allan Cunningham Project at www.Artuccino.com. How do I know he is a scholar . . . well . . . anyone who is seeking information about the history of a plant collected in New Zealand in 1838 and can lay down a sentence like the request that follows must be a scholar . . .
"When you go to the Sydney Herbarium (NSW), I will be most grateful if you will look for the sheet of the Allan Cunningham specimen of this species [Polypodium dictyopteris] for me, which might be filed under the genus Anarthropteris (Polypodiaceae) or might be filed as Loxogramme, and then perhaps as Loxogramme lanceolata or Loxogramme dictyopteris."
If you can make a request like that you would have to be a scholar, wouldn't you agree!
We never know where our journey will take us and you never know who you will meet along the way. A scholar to me is like Justin Timberlake is to a pop star fan. Well not quite but nearly. Silly I know but it's fun. Before we go any further, I must tell you that I’m not really a person who is interested in botany in a serious way. It’s more the idea of it that gets me. I’m interested in the “how” of it and the “why” of it. The idea of someone quietly focusing on a plant captures my imagination. Life is so hectic with little time to rest, some people live their lives studying plants, how interesting. Plants are so quiet and so very beautiful, as nature is.
One of the joys of writing non-fiction is the research, the serendipity of discovery. It would have been nice to report that I found a specimen of Polypodium dictyopteris (Loxogramme dictyopteris) collected by Allan Cunningham in 1838 only months before his death and it would have been nice to say he discovered the plant on such and such a day in such and such a place. Unfortunately my opportunity for 15 seconds of fame has flitted in and flitted out of my life, like a butterfly. Never daunted, it will remain on my list of challenges and one day I will be able to reply to the request in the affirmative because I am on a quest. A quest to tell Allan Cunningham's story.
The challenges set for my quest don't include finding a sword embedded in a rock so I can slay the dragon. Thank goodness for that! I've been given a challenge with a minor obstacle . . . time.
As time goes by and the various challenges are met and obstacles overcome, somewhere somehow, while I'm looking for something else, Polypodium dictyopteris (Loxogramme dictyopteris) will suddenly appear and that will make me smile.