For some reason, my primary and secondary education included a good deal of genus and species classification, such as leaf projects and wildflower projects. I suppose that early exposure gave me a proclivity for classifying – I really like knowing what the things around me are. I am glad when I look at a tree and know that it’s a pin oak (for example).
When I was in a plane recently, flying back south from Dar es Salaam. I looked out the window during the descent, and I felt a reassuring, familiar sort of feeling. I knew what almost all the trees were: tall, scrawny coconut palms; puffy cashew trees; spooky, massive baobabs; full, elongated mango trees; and elegant Sterculia that seem to glow from within.