Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pruning in the Game of Life

that's chlorophyll on a leaf!  Click for source.  

Meditations on life while pruning away at some plants.  I imagine now that I work at a Garden Nursery, I'll be writing more about plants.  Today I spent some time pruning away the dead leaves on some of our various shade-loving plants.  I reached a fantastic meditative space while doing this.

It's not strictly pruning, and, technically, I don't know much about the subject of pruning (it's not like ignorance has ever stopped me from sharing my opinion before).  I guess maybe it's closer to 'dead heading' rose plants, which is the process of cutting away dead blooms.  In so doing, you send a message to the plant to give up on those blooms, and concentrate its energy elsewhere.  This is what I was thinking of as I was cleaning up these plants.  It's like life-coaching for plants.  As a human, I can move much quicker than can a plant, and I can sort of force the issue by cutting a little twig or limb off at the source.

Of course, this must be done with the requisite amount of care.  Cut away healthy leaves and you may be stunting the plants growth by removing a good source of sunlight catching chlorophyll.  The idea is to help the plant with maximum efficiency.  A goal that is not unlike the goals in various video games, primarily of the puzzle or RTS variety.  These are games that you play to improve and get better at.  Your actions become swifter and more efficient.  You learn a balance of good resource management and appropriate dexterity, timing and planning for the future.

I also want to take a minute to mention a particular plant I encountered, on which almost no viable leaves remained, except a tiny little red leaf at the core of the plant.  I checked with my manager, and he confirmed I should remove all the leaves and leave only the core, and then move it to our plant 'sick bay' for convalescence, mostly because nobody would buy an 8 dollar plant with only one tiny leaf.  However, I did get to thinking that in the system of the plant, there is stored energy in the core, so that even when a plant is not able to absorb through its leaves, it can produce new, healthy leaves to start harvesting energy.

I guess its' like in Plants Vs Zombies, if your sunflowers are being chewed on by the zombies, and you lose energy, but you have done a good job of saving up your sun points, so you can make more.  I don't entirely like this comparison because I always protect my sunflowers at all cost, and spend all my sun points as quickly as possible.

Either way, I think these cool biological systems write themselves in terms of making video game transliterations.  There is, of course, a limit to the amount of depth that you can portray in a viable gaming system, but that's okay.  Self imposed limitations, such as scale and time can do a lot to create a fun game.

Water, light, positioning, pruning, time.  Resources and gameplay toward a stated goal of maximum flourishing.  Yay Gardening game!


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