Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Nigerian Bouquet

This flat, two-sided palm was outside our hotel in Ibadan.

This was an exciting discovery alongside the Benue River near Yola. It's a variation of the "Sensitive Plant" (maybe a Catclaw Mimosa [Giant Sensitive Plant], Mimosa pigra L.).
I first encountered this wonderful "weed" when I was training my sentry dog in Okinawa. We were allowed to take a break, so we plopped down in a plush bush. When I got up, it appeared the bush was gone. The leaves quickly fold up when you touch them. I found them growing in Hawaii also.

Much of the drive from Abaju, in the center of the country, to the Gusau in the northeast, was through a seemingly never-ending savanah. At first glance, these trees appeared to have been recovering from fire damage or pruning or stripping, but it turns out this is what is is.

I want to believe that this is a baobab tree. I want to believe it because I've always dreamed of seeing a baobab tree. It if it is a baobab tree, then there are a lot of them around. Keep in mind that when we travel between cities, we move quickly -- not a lot of time to stop and ask people what kind of tree it is. Did you notice the people gathering beneath the big branches of this proud tree? If you don't know about the baobab tree, then it's clear that you never read Antoine de Saint Exupery's "The Little Prince." And if that's the case, you really must read it right away. You're likely to grow up and get all wrapped up in "matters of consequence."

If you get too wrapped up in "matters of consequence" you forget what's really essential. And if you forget what's really essential, then you're not likely to notice the beautiful things that grow all over the world -- even if some people refer to them as weeds.

There's a remedy. It's never to late to read or re-read "The Little Prince". If you've read this far, I'm certain you have the time to renew your youth and learn what's truly essential. You can read the book -- and see the great drawings -- at

Send me an e-mail if you take the plunge.

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