The hanging flower pod in my courtyard made me feel uncomfortable because it was still another example of how little I actually know about the world. Growing up in Ohio, and then New York City, I had never actually seen a banana plant. I thought it was a tree, but learned later it’s an extremely large herb. Naturally I did a photographic study (see earlier LJ entries, below).
When I first saw this strange thing, the excellent science fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” came to mind. The pod, I thought, was very much like that film’s invasion of alien life forms. Or, I thought, it was an evolutionary anomaly. Natural selection gone haywire. A display of living surrealism, excellent material for Salvadore Dali or Heironymus Bosch.
The image is nightmarish in the sense that something perfectly natural appears bizarre, at least to me. But it’s bizarre only because of my ignorance. Banana harvesting is an ancient human practice. Evidence in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there dates back to at least 5000 BCE. Eons ago.
I value self-examination and have spent a great deal of time on it, but in this instance I don’t think I want to know exactly why the sight of this plant disturbs me so much. But maybe in a week or two I’ll get around to it.