(Scene: For their daily outing, Linda pulls the sentient Plant inside the red wagon on the leaf-shaded sidewalk along West Main Street. In the wagon, two pots of dirt closely line up behind Plant like a tail extending backward.)
Plant: You spend so much time walking. Can you put a leaf on what you like best about it?
Linda: I’m on a 10,000 steps-per-day exercise program, but I also like breathing in the environment.
P: The air.
L: Well, I meant observing. Not so much the air. It’s fairly thick with particulate matter.
P: Particulate matter?
L: Like the smoke from the recent wildfires. And, we’ve been burning fossil fuels forever to support what is now over 8 billion people. All that burned matter goes into the air we breathe, plus there’s dust, allergens like pollen from some of your plant pals, and more.
P: Geological formations contribute, too. Volcanoes have been belching magma much longer than humans have been carrying flaming clubs. Magma cools, eventually breaks down, enriches soil, fosters growth.
L: How on earth do you know about volcanoes, Plant? You can’t read. Even if you could, who’s been turning the pages?
P: Hel-LO, educator–individualized learning styles. That idea is not species-dependent. All those science recaps you listen to at home? I listen, too.
L: Oh. The radio. In the background.
P: National Public Radio. It covers topics of interest to other species besides humans.
L: You continue to surprise me, Plant. I doubt that NPR realizes it channels information to non-humans.
P: Maybe not, but it is broad-leaf coverage, so to speak. And I listen.
L: Of course. You’re curious. Curiosity drives learning…part of the fun of walking is the discussions that take place. Like this one.
P: Discussion accelerates learning accelerates discussion and so on.
L: And collaboration contributes. For example, when Steve and I are working on a project together, there’s a lot of quibbling and laughing, but we learn together and make faster progress.
P: I have a new nickname for your husband: Saint Patience. I listen and learn from the stories you two tell. I heard about the one-and-only collaborative wall-papering project.
L: That went badly.
P: You two chose to wallpaper an asymmetrical, badly-made arch. As a first project. Much more wall-papering and the two of you would have ended up in divorce court. And then where would I have been?
L: In a single-parent household learning from one person rather than two.
P: Lo, my leaves tremble and I writhe in pain over the projected agony of the learning slowdown.
L: Snarky. I like it. Have you considered why this wagon holds two pots directly behind you?
P: I noticed they only contain dirt. Why have pots of dirt earned a wagon ride?
L: Our neighbor has a walking iris.
P: Plants do not walk. They cannot. They do not have legs or feet.
L: The walking iris sends out a tendril that develops into a new plant, then implants when it finds a suitable soil substrate.
P: “Walking” because the iris sends out that tendril that eventually becomes a new plant.
P: So, you think I could send out a tendril which might find the soil behind it and implant. You have positioned the pots in close proximity behind me. You have “planted” the idea.
L: Correct. Idea implanted. Training conducted. Message received.
P: I am not a walking iris.
L: True. But you are a sentient plant that proved in a previous conversation that it could wilt on demand. Maybe you can “walk,” too. That would be evolution on steroids. If the idea bears fruit, that is.
P: No pun intended, right? Walking and evolving are appealing. Keep the pots of dirt nearby just in case. Not just in the wagon. Also, in the house.
L: When I pull you and the plantlets in the wagon, we would be walking together.
P: We are already walking together. Your functions are to pull the wagon and talk with me. My functions are to ride in the wagon, talk with you, and make you think beyond your tiny little world.
L: Plant, you can be really irritating.
P: Growth is rarely comfortable.
L: I’ve observed something else on this walk, but the idea is still baking in my brain.
P: Spit it out. I hate waiting.
L: You want a half-baked idea? Not happening. I need to do some reading.
About the Author: Plant and Linda Lemery email@example.com welcome reader comments.