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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Invasion of the Alien Pods

They looked harmless. They looked like decorative flowers. But hidden among the wilting blooms and walls of sword shaped leaves, the plants were diverting their energy into the production of survival pods, packing them with DNA instructions and the resources necessary to execute the campaign to propagate the species – seeds.

Like economy class passengers stuffed onto an international flight, the seeds are packed into the pods – the fuselages of clever and efficient dispersal devices.

The sun’s deliberate retreat to the South brings an end to the season of excess solar energy. The handwriting is on the wall. The plant must look forward to decline and perhaps death. The signal to activate the pods is sent.

Since not even a plant can predict the future, there is some uncertainty about what the optimal conditions for dispersal will be. Therefore the plant is forced to hedge its bets and adopt a strategy that will take advantage of the changing conditions of the autumn season and winter. Some of the pods are quick to respond. Some procrastinate. The precious cargo is jettisoned over time.

On Sunday, I arrive at Smith and Bybee lakes to see the broadcasting of seeds literally frozen in time. The beaver manufactured reservoir I explore is shaded by a grove of future dam candidates and remains locked in ice. Evidence of the tail end of a massive amphibious campaign is everywhere preserved in sheets of solid water.

Generally, when one’s mental functioning is compared to the mental functioning of a vegetable, it is usually not something to brag about, but the propagation of seeds is a masterful feat of logistics that utilizes wind, water and weather to send seeds successfully into an unimaginable future.

Iris Survival gambit

1 comment:

  1. And let us remember our dear animal companions who share the planet with us. Very helpful in assisting our root-bound cohorts with propagation.

    ReplyDelete

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