Joseph made it a habit to check the flower bulb hidden in the inner pocket of his coat each day, even when the sea was craggy with waves, or the crew limp as windless sails in the overheated air. And every day of the eight weeks it took to reach Portsmouth, the globe remained hard as a pebble, the papery skin sweet smelling.
As his hammock swung in the humid crack of darkness below deck, he imagined the fortune he could charge the plant collectors at Kew, the dresses he would buy Mary, the house he could leave his son.
I saw Josh’s lovely image and thought of all the plant collectors through history who often risked their lives on long sea voyages to find unusual and unclassified plant specimens and take them home.
I wonder if my Joseph will experience success or failure.
NB – Kew is Kew Gardens in London, one of the most prestigious botanic gardens in the world since it was founded in 1759.