Brazilian Giant-Rhubarb

Gunnera manicata

Gunnera manicata with people for size comparison

At the end of last year’s season, the gardeners at the Botanic Gardens here in Cambridge cut down the sodden, sagging leaves and piled them on the spot where the plant had been. The reason I am telling you this is because what you see here is entirely this year’s growth. Pretty astounding, eh?

By the way, the Latin name is Gunnera manicata, and according to the Garden guide it originated in Chile. Wikipedia says it originated in Brazil, hence Brazilian Giant-Rhubarb.

What Lies Beneath

Gunnera manicata beneath the leaves


Working out what G-d is like is a bit like a blind man picturing an elephant from touch. Still, if G-d can create a human being with free will, that’s clever. It’s more clever than creating stars and planets and everything on them. The quality of ‘randomness’ is similarly clever.

Is that seed head part of the plant? None of the other leaves have it. Or did the seed head get blown or carried to that spot? And then a couple of seed spilled out. Seemingly randomly.

Back To Black

When I took the shot of the man in the jeans and the painting at which he is looking, I could see the funny side of someone looking at a plain black canvas. From memory, I think I moved around in the gallery to be in position to take a shot when someone stood in front of it.

The painting is not totally black, as you can perhaps see. Here below is a crop that shows it better. There doesn’t seem to be a lot in the painting, though.

I don’t know the man and I have no idea what is going through his head, but I am reading body language and considering how absorbed, versus how self conscious, he appears to be.

It made me think of two states of being. In one, the person predominately asks of him or herself, ‘How am I in relation to my surroundings?’

In the other state of being, the person is absorbed in the thing, the surroundings, the people, and asks ‘How is the thing, my surroundings, the people?’

How did we humans come to be so unnatural in the world?

You’ve probably seen the hilarious videos of animals failing to make the jump. And in ‘real life’ I once saw a sparrow miss a branch it flew to. It did something very ‘human’ after it scrabbled to get its balance after it had missed its footing. It settled down and then preened itself with great ostentation. But even in the most epic fails, animals seem to be ‘in nature’ and never divorced from it.

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