Saturday, March 30, 2013

All Things Connected

Nature exhibits many poetic interdependencies.
"One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star."
Francis Thompson, Poet
Roman philosopher Cicero wrote, "Omnia vivunt, omnia inter se conexa" which translates from Latin to:
"All things live, all things are connected to each other".
Perhaps the exemplary confirmation of this notion is the procreation of plant species whose survival depends on the transport of pollen grains from one plant to another. Plant life requires insects, reptiles, birds, and mammals to carry their reproductive messengers, pollen grains, from one plant to another.
"When we try to pick anything out by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
John Muir
Physical phenomena, like wind or flowing water, also carries and deposits pollen among plants.
"Pollinators are what ecologists call keystone species. You know how an arch has a keystone. It's the one stone that keeps the two halves of the arch together. If you remove the keystone, the whole arch collapses."
May Berenbaum, Entomologist
Skipper butterfly carrying a load of pollen grains on its legs
For carriers like butterflies or honey bees, grains of pollen adhere to their body parts allowing for the transport and deposition of pollen as the insect visits multiple plants.

Without help from other species, or physical phenomena like wind, the fertilization of plants by pollination would not occur. Organisms thrive by an essential mutualism between species and by using the physical conditions of an ecosystem to best advantage.
"We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness."
Thich Nhat Hanh, Monk