How I know is as unexpected as those sepals. It starts with McDonald's, which recently moved its headquarters to the city's trendy West Loop neighborhood in an effort to attract more techie hipsters to its workforce. Walgreen's moved into the same building, leading to an offhand comment on a Facebook string noting an emerging circular economy. That led to a string-within-string and the discovery that a friend of the friend who started the Facebook string is also a friend of my neighbor who occasionally takes pictures of the flowers in my Lamp Post Garden. I posted one of my photos, which prompted my new friend to post a link to Richard Pearce's website. Pearce was a friend of hers. The ripples widen.
To find one kindred spirit is a gift. To find two, a blessing. Pearce's work is a revelation of art, science and technique. His shorter videos, available on Youtube, are fabulous and is his digital opus – Flora of the Upper Midwest Driftless Region – on his website. Still, I wish there was a physical book. It would be so beautiful.
My joy is tempered by sadness. Richard Pearce died last May, a suicide. I have no idea what led him to a point of such sorrow, but hope that in some form he has returned to his beloved nature, atoms to molecules to cells.
I will never meet this marvelous man I have only just begun to know. His legacy is his work. For that I am beyond grateful.