When you watch a milkweed seed pod burst and scatter its tiny dancing seeds to the wind, it is easy to understand how nature balances the strong and the delicate, and finds finds the most elegant of solutions to the problem of continued existence.
I live in a country that earns quite a sizeable portion of its living out of being breathtakingly beautiful.
It is true that these days human impacts on land and water are beginning to show, and we’re increasingly like a hung-over media celeb, relying on Photoshop to pixel over the cracks. But it’s still relatively easy to turn a corner or crest a hill and find a vista so beautiful you can be forgiven if you forget to breathe.
I wouldn’t say I’ve become inured to such beauty, but if I’m honest, what really takes my breath away these days is the appalling ease with which my fellow New Zealanders (and some of the paid guests we’re taking in to help pay the bills) feel it’s ok to desecrate our environment. Apart from the terrible damage inflicted on landscapes, waterways, eco-systems and wildlife, it’s biting the hand that feeds.
This is death by a thousand cuts; dumping litter, over-fishing, clearing forests to create dairy farms, freedom campers who (literally) leave their shit behind, people who turn every available patch of grass on a beach reserve into a de facto car park because someone else did it first, a national mindset that says dairy farming and tourism are GOOD FOR GROWTH and let’s not look too closely at the negative impacts … the list goes on.
As always, the prescribed treatment for my chronic environmental grump is to get out the door and connect with the little miracles of nature that also take my breath away.
Posted to the Ragtag Dail Prompt | breathtaking
“Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional.” — Liz Vassey
In nature, Vassey’s words are particularly true. Whole eco-systems can be compromised by disruption to even the smallest part.
In 1800 Johann Gottlieb Fichte noted that “you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole”.
Edward Lorenz later described this phenomenon as the butterfly effect.
Diminishing numbers of bees and butterflies have caused widespread concern, and gardeners around the world consciously grow plant species to feed and support these creatures.
But, while gardeners may not like them, snails and other less glamorous creatures are necessary too — consuming rotting vegetation and providing food for other species like birds, lizards and mammals.
Starfish are regarded as a “keystone species” in marine ecosystems — but are sensitive to both marine pollution and water temperatures.
The loss of any part of nature’s elegant and beautiful system is a tragedy in itself, but the consequences reach far beyond any single extinction, threatening the whole Earth.
It seems that humans have the power (at least for now) to protect the life-forms that remain (including our own), and reverse some of the damage done. But we’d better be quick.
Posted to Lens Artist’s Photo Challenge | nature
Well the election gods haven’t (so far — hung parliament) come through with the new government I wanted for my birthday, AND I’ve managed to spend the last 36 hours feeling utterly miserable from a gastro-bug-thingy , BUT …
… the Big T floored me with a particularly thoughtful and wonderful birthday gift.
I’ve been dithering for ages about buying a macro lens, and now I am the ecstatic owner of a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS USM macro lens. I’m a bit hopeless with technical terminology, but even from my first experiments, I can tell this lens is seriously cool.
As my interest in photography has grown, I’m turning my lens more and more on nature, and particularly on the tiny details. In a world that I find increasingly — well, scary — I am comforted and sustained by the beauty and resilience of the smallest life forms.
And by the love of the good people like the Big T. And not just for the awesome gift — I’m even more grateful for his thoughtful compassion and nursing skills — especially at 3am when I’m sick and grumpy and, frankly, stink.
All life is dependent on a myriad of tiny structures, combining to create forms which interact with others.
From the strong, almost transparent wings of a bee, to the plants they feed on and pollinate, if we destroy just one structure, we put the whole system at risk.
A plant has a circle. The seed becomes a plant which has a flower … it transforms into a fruit and the fruit drops. There’s another seed and the seed grows again. This is a circle. The flower is the moment that we live. The most beautiful moment of the circle. The most beautiful moment.— Alex Atala, chef.
The road-bumps my family’s been experiencing lately show no signs of disappearing, and it looks as though travelling a new, more difficult road might be the new normal — at least for a while.
If I sound cryptic, then my apologies. Some stories are not really mine to share, even though I’m a character in them.
It is amazing though, how having to raise my head to new horizons also allows me to appreciate much more the simple beauty around me.
I heard the quote above on Chef’s Table last night and was moved almost to tears.
Here it is in context:
A magnolia-ficent obsession! With apologies to Douglas Sirk.