The Arboretum Grounds, including the Visitors Center and all trails, will close at 12 noon on Saturday, October 24 for our Oktoberfest. Please join us!

The Little Things

Sometimes when I go for a walk around the grounds I sometimes forget we are in the middle of a pandemic. While Covid-19 has turned our world upside down, the natural world is moving along as if nothing has changed – the flowers are blooming, the bees are pollinating, the fireflies are dancing; nature seems the way it have always been, rather normal. Though in nature, nothing is ever normal.

Whenever I am talking about adaptations, I always tell my audience, "Everything in nature – the shape of a flower, the color of a butterfly, the length of an insect's antennae, etc. is designed for a specific purpose; simply put, to help the organism survive long enough to reproduce." Sometimes the specific characteristics are obvious, certain colors in nature are warning colors so the organism is telling its predators to think twice before it eats it. Other times, it's not obvious at all.

Red, yellow, black and white are warning colors telling predators to stay away

   Warning colors on the monarch caterpillar

    The venomous coral snake.. 

I think about that statement a lot when I am outdoors. I often find myself pausing to look closely at the color and shape of a flower wondering what insect it is trying to attract. Or despite the fact I am not a huge fan of spiders, watching in awe as a spider spins an amazing work of art outside my door designed to ensnare its next meal. There are quite a few people that would not give that spider a second thought while I can't stop thinking about how incredible it is that this tiny creature can build something so impressive. I believe if you look closely enough, you will see something amazing every day that will make you smile.

     An orb weaver on its web.

I have heard these last few months referred to as the Great Pause and my challenge to you is to do just that: stop, find something and examine it closely. Notice the details. Think about its purpose here on this planet. Research a little something about it. And hopefully you'll discover something that wlll bring a smile to your face.