I’m no Marcel Proust. But I remember biology class in the 8th grade, and I remember memorizing phyla and such, and thinking how I was sure to ace the quiz.
But now that vague memory of this phylum and that phylum comes back to me very often.
I find myself thinking frequently about bio-diversity. Why are there so many different kinds of species? And why is there such complexity? This is truly a radically amazing world.
Take for example, honeybees and flowers.
I was driving on the NJ Turnpike yesterday in a light rain. Everything was gray. The windshield wipers were rocking me to sleep. But by sheer luck, I was jolted awake by the sheer enormity of the complexity of our marvelous (in the true sense of that word, we must marvel) world.
I was lucky enough to be able to listen to Science Friday on NPR and learn some incredible things. Flowers give off an electrical field to attract bees. Yes, they have electricity emanating from them! The bees are drawn in by the electrical field. Evidently the bees have a little charge themselves that is opposite to the flower’s charge.
Yet these wily flowers are even smarter than just being charged. They actually have caffeine in their nectar! Yes, a little bitter caffeine in their sweet nectar. Why?
It seems that the caffeine makes the bees a little more alert and they remember the type of flower they are in. Then when they fly away, they head toward another flower that is the same type (which they remember from their caffeine buzz) and pollinate the second flower.
Way cool, huh?! A little bite with the sweet nectar. An electrical attraction. No wonder they call it the birds and the bees. Next I will have to see how birds do it. Do they, too, look for a cup of joe before they fly off to find a mate?
Wasn’t I lucky to be jolted awake to learn about the honeybees and flowers? Maybe an electrical attraction from the bees came through the car radio to provide that jolt to awaken me. Maybe the coffee I am drinking now helps me remember my excitement so I can tell you all about the bees, and get you to pollinate another person’s imagination with the wonders of our world!
Or alternatively, you could dance to “Birds Do It; Bees Do It”, and just marvel at the world while dancing.
© 2013 Margery Leveen Sher
Margery Leveen Sher is an entrepreneur, writer and speaker with decades of experience as a work-life balance consultant for major corporations and government agencies. Her latest start-up is The Did Ya Notice? Project.