Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/799

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
779
BOTANY AS A RECREATION FOR INVALIDS.

think it must be replied that there Jo remain classes of organic phenomena unaccounted for. It may, I believe, be shown that certain cardinal traits of animals and plants at large are still unexplained; and that a further factor must be recognized. To show this, however, will require another paper.

 

BOTANY AS A RECREATION FOR INVALIDS.
By Miss E. F. ANDREWS.

IN a recent number of "The Popular Science Monthly," the writer of an interesting article, on "Thomasville as a Winter Resort," mentions the want of public amusements there as a subject of regret from a hygienic point of view. The criticism is a just one, and unfortunately applies to most of our Southern health resorts—St. Augustine, with its yacht club and sea-bathing, and Jacksonville, with a few other cities large enough to attract theatrical companies, forming possible exceptions.

Invalids, as a rule, have a great deal of leisure on their hands—more of it than they like—and to fill this time pleasantly is a question involving a good deal more than mere amusement. The importance of mental distraction to invalids is a fact too universally recognized to call for comment here, my object in this paper being merely to suggest a mode of distraction that, in my own experience, has not only been attended with the happiest results physically, but has proved a source of intense and never-failing pleasure. I allude to the study of botany—not the tiresome, profitless study of text-books, but of the woods, and fields, and meadows.

The beauty of this pursuit is that it takes the student out-of-doors, and throat and lung troubles, as has been truly said, are house-diseases. I am speaking, of course, to those who have begun to fight the enemy before he has captured the inner defenses, and who are supposed to be strong enough to do a reasonable amount of walking, and some solid thinking. For botany, though the simplest of the sciences, can not be mastered without some effort. You are met right at the threshold by that fearful, technical vocabulary which must be conquered before advancing a single step—a labor so formidable and repellent, when undertaken according to the old school-book method, that I do not wonder so many have shrunk away from it in disgust or in despair.

But even this task, apparently as formidable as learning a new tongue, can be made a pastime if rightly undertaken. Don't try to learn definitions or commit long strings of names to memory from a book, but get some simple work and take it out into the woods with you. Don't worry with writing schedules or trying to draw outlines