Latently Speaking

Latent: lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for development or manifestation.*

Conventional biological examples of latency include your garden-variety crappy viruses and diseases, but also the more perennially pleasant bulbs, tubers, buds, spores, and cocoons.

However, I feel that this list is... lackluster. And as one of the world’s leading Romanologists, I submit this small, aforementioned human to the fray. Because Roman is all about potential. And his potential? Is time-released. Some may even say incremental.

Like, say, the Talipot Palm or the Giant Himalayan Lily. (<-- Horticultural humor. Apologies. These are the winners of the 10 Ridiculously Slow to Bloom Plants from Listverse. Although I think that Agave has them beat in swagger and spirits.)

These plants lay fallow for years, and then boom! A great big crop of golf ball-sized seeds or a glorious flower emerges. Latency is lousy with hope, anticipation, down time, and delay. {Exhibit A: Roman’s original diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Delay. Mmm? *grabs chin between thumb and forefinger* Case closed.}

But reaching the right environmental conditions often requires a catalyst. This is what we attempted in our Portland to Portlandia! road trip. Come to find out though, in true Gilligan’s Island form, that this past summer was only a prelude: our equivalent to the three hour tour.

^^ If you’re a child of the 70‘s like me, you just put those three words to the theme music in your head, and threw in the matching refrain. It’s as involuntary as latent learning,** something you just know.

And what I know? Is that all things grow with love. In fact, sometimes tough love is the best tool for growth - uprooting, dividing, and transplanting - root and branch. It’s science.

Our al fresco experiment starts in September.*** We’re taking the whole school year, because Rome wasn’t built in a day. And all that.

As for spore biology? It’s Greek to me.


PS The Cynthia Lord quote is from Rules - an excellent read.

* As per the Oxford Dictionary.
** Check my segue! Boss.
*** I am totally Mary Anne in this scenario.

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