My affinity for botanicals began early, playing with friends in the drab urban landscape of the South Side of Chicago. I found a tiny, mysterious plant growing in a narrow strip of dirt between the brick wall and the cement sidewalk. The beauty of its white blossoms, which unfurled from the heart of several large green leaves, shocked me. I was a little kid who usually looked up to see things in the world, but now I lay on my belly to be close enough to caress the delicate surface of the bell-shaped petals and inhale their sweet fragrance. This abrupt awakening of my senses to touch and smell is always with me. Such a minuscule incident, but it was the beginning of an obsession that extends beyond the visual to something intensely spiritual—the vibrant, endless life cycle that connects humanity and nature.