No, They're Not Just Plants


2017 was the year I learned I was a plant person. This was something that happened quite suddenly and something that surprised me as well – this is coming from someone who owned fake IKEA plants for three years in Harlem. “They look real, and they’re low-maintenance!” I’ve grown as a person since then. This passion – ok let’s not exaggerate – this hobby is something that I guess happened after a trip to the Botanical Conservatory in Chicago [A Guide to Chicago in the Cold], where my friend Dominique convinced me to go with her. We only spent 45 minutes there before we had to leave, but there was something about being surrounded by the humongous plants that did it for me.

Excuse me if this sounds completely ridiculous, but how can the dusty old, literally old, ground, covered in dirt, which is brown, produce such tall, beautiful plants that are red, orange, blue, pink, green, etc.? Have you realized that this is probably as close to the planet in Avatar as we’ll probably ever get?

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You can see my excitement already, so it should be no surprise to hear that upon my arrival in LA, I made a bee-line for Home Depot’s plant department where I spent forty-minutes deciding between a croton plant and a pothos. I went home with both. I now own five plants, two of which are dying, but I’m coping well with it.

Flash-forward to a random Thursday in Rio de Janeiro. Jo was with family, my friend Leo was busy, and I was completely free and in an Uber Pool straight for the Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. I was a bit worried it was going to rain, until I realized that rain is just water, and if I get wet, I get wet, and at least I’ll have a unique experience, solo, in the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.

But it didn’t rain, and instead of spending my time working out game plans for hypothetical weather scenarios in my head, I took a seat at this bench, attempted to tweet something clever, which didn’t work, so I put my phone down, and gazed out in front of me. Ahhh.

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The conservatory was huge, so I spent another hour walking from corner to corner – fascinated about something I had never even noticed before. I did a tree project Sophomore year of high school that I could not have cared less about, but now if I see a thriving Boston fern in a coffee shop I’m like, give me all of your secrets.

I don’t know much about botany or horticulture, I’ve never had a green thumb, and I have two plants dying at home, but as with anything, you gotta start somewhere. Again, this is coming from someone who used to say things like, “what, they’re just plants.”

And that’s exactly the point. No, past Damon, they’re not just plants. Just like this isn’t just a blog. And you aren’t just another person. Nothing should ever be written off as just anything. Everything matters to some degree.

Never count out anything. You really never know where your next hobby will come from.

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