I learned from the Hidden Life of Trees that nature has its ways of survival. Reproduction happens through seeds, as we know, and nature is very good at seeing that seeds get seeded. Trees and flowers are dependent on animals, the wind, to make sure the seeds survive and get carried to places to sprout. I am thinking of the selfish gene – survival is the goal, survival of the species.

I had a very intimate encounter with this principle. During one of our ‘arret de petits besoins’ (=pit stops), I waded into the high grasses to do my business. When I walked back to the car I noticed that my pants were covered with what looked like pieces of straw. I was mistaken. They were arrows sent onto me from the high grass. The arrows included the bows that shot them at me, 1 inch pieces of grass with a sharp seed at the end. The seed was so sharp that it had woven itself instantly into the fabric of my loose rayon pants.

The grasses are looking for carriers of their seeds. I suppose these are usually animals – my dark pants must have been confused with a zebu. Little did they know this these seeds might have accidentally been carried to the US. Once the yellow straws were removed the dark seeds stayed in the fabric of my pants, hardly visibly.

My colleagues knelt down in front of me picking me clean. During the next few kilometers in the car I continued to remove the seeds. I cut myself on them, they were that sharp.

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April 2017
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