Natural History

Week 2: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 3: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 4: The Song of Nature, theme 1: ORGANISMS
Week 6: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 7: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 8: The Song of Nature, theme 2: STORIES
Week 9: Interlude - To Experience Nature
Week 10: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENT
Week 11: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Week 12: The Song of Nature, theme 3: ENVIRONMENTS
Appendix #1 - Natural History Books
Appendix #2 - Index of Nature Poems
Appendix #3 - Selected Outlines of Living Things

Day 3: Interaction

Words

We don’t often think of plants as communicating with each other, but they do. Canadian forest biologist Suzanne Simard explains in this video:

Video: “How trees talk to each other (Suzanne Simard)” (18:25)

How about interactions between other organisms and us humans? Some of our closest relationships with other animals through history have involved horses, dogs, cats, and of course our food animals. Here is an audio program on another animal we have lived and interacted with that might not spring to mind as quickly, but should: pigeons!

Audio: “Pigeon (BBC Natural Histories)” (28:53)

 

Works

Keep an eye out today for interactions among organisms. Some might be subtle, like crown shyness in trees where leaves tend to leave spaces between themselves and neighboring trees. Others might require some close observation, such as the world of mycorrhizal fungi beneath the surface of the ground interacting with plant roots. Others are right before our eyes, such as the algae-fungi relationship that makes up a lichen, or insects pollinating flowers, or the animals that eat fruits and thus help plants disperse seeds to new places.

 

~Go to new places. Prepare beforehand for each new place; have a map~




PRAY TO WHAT EARTH

 

Pray to what earth does this sweet cold belong, 

Which asks no duties and no conscience?

The moon goes up by leaps, her cheerful path 

In some far summer stratum of the sky,

While stars with their cold shine bedot her way. 

The fields gleam mildly back upon the sky, 

And far and near upon the leafless shrubs

The snow dust still emits a silver light.

Under the hedge, where drift banks are their screen, 

The titmice now pursue their downy dreams,

As often in the sweltering summer nights 

The bee doth drop asleep in the flower cup, 

When evening overtakes him with his load. 

By the brooksides, in the still, genial night, 

The more adventurous wanderer may hear 

The crystals shoot and form, and winter slow 

Increase his rule by gentlest summer means

 

-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

 

 

(Note: The word “Pray” in the title of this poem does not refer literally to prayer, but is an archaic request to the reader for attention, much as we would say “Excuse me”, “Please tell me”, or even “Hey!” today.)