LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE MILKWEED

 

milkweed pod

Nature obviously has its own thoughts and ideas. Most of our own brilliant inventions are derived from observing nature in action. A simple walking through the fall landscape can bring us face-to-face with the brilliance of nature’s thoughts if we take the time to notice them.

Milkweed is the only food of the caterpillar for Monarch butterflies. It is an important 7459399-a-monarch-butterfly-on-a-milkweed-plantsource of nectar for bees and wasps and butterflies alike. How they propagate is not only worthy of our attention, but could be an essential clue to understanding the mind of nature itself.

The little brown seeds are enmeshed in light filaments of silky white hairs called coma that blow away in the wind to disperse and propagate new generations of the milkweed family.

Such revolutionary method for propagation has to develop from an idea in the mind of nature. Somehow, a genetic blueprint for this form of reproduction is developed and slowly revised over time. Due to the complexity of the parts of the plants involved, it makes sense to think of this natural process as an idea that is carefully nurtured and carried out by some natural thought pattern that regulates and develops the botanical universe. The common dandelion has a similar method of asexual reproductions the flowers turn to spore The offspring that grow from this method are genetically identical to the parent plant.

This milkweed floss is hollow and coated with wax, making very good for insulation properties.During World War II, milkweed floss was collected as a substitute for kapok. The milk in the milkweed contains 1 to 2% latex, but has not been widely used as a source for rubber of paint because other sources are more prevalent. The fibers are used to clean u oil spills. (Milkweed touted as oil-spill super-sucker — with butterfly benefits”. cbc.ca. 2 December 2014.)

Milkweed in the Asciepias species is the only food for the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly. Preserving and growing milkweed is essential for the continuation of this beautiful insect.

Milkweed-in-seed2

GRAVITY SUCKS

Gravity scksSome years back, I believed that people  grew old and died because they became ill and their bodies deteriorated. As I age myself, I wonder if that is so. Cou
ld it be that people pass on because the world about them changes so much that they no longer feel attached to it? Can a person evolve to the point where withdrawing from the world seems the best logical choice? Does this changing of the world about us affect our consciousness and then our health? Does life culminate in the desire to no longer desire? Is death the natural end because we lose the desire and will to persist? Or is the will to persist yanked from us despite our rage against the darkness of the unknown night.

What is true for one might not be true for another. The sheer variety of humanity and the vast complexity of nature creates a different world for each entity that lives within it.

Inequality is everywhere because inequality is essential for movement. Inequality is gravity. It is that weak force that binds things together, feet to the earth and planets to the stars, friends to friends.

Each individual life is a cosmos unto itself.

As a young man, I easily saw the truth in the unity of all being but saw also that the world is a game of one-upsmanship. People compete to produce winners and losers. The world around us is stratified, socially and economically.

Social inequality is a constant, but nature demands a balance for stability. The highs must not be too high and the lows must not be too low.  When things are too far out of balance, they explode and gravity is overcome.

Gravity is the result of inequality. When things are equal, there is no push nor pull.

Each side of the equation is different, but the equality creates the balance.

For most of us living on Earth, there is nothing as fine as the era in time in which we now live. How could this not be so, when this time is all we have? Are we not practical? We cannot live in another era.

Yet, eras change, and change brings new actors to the stage, new athletes to the field. Soon enough, we barely know the rules of the game because it has changed so much.

We spend our lives speaking our lines and doing our work. We seek what makes us feel good—through pleasures, work, pastimes, and relationships. It becomes the driving factor that motivates and moves us.

It is movement that produces the gravity that keeps us centered enough to survive. We—like our Earth, our Sun, and our Galaxy—must evolve and revolve as we orbit around something much bigger than us. Heinlein wrote: “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Love is one of the gravitational anchors that hold us in place.

Health does get worse with time and wear. Physical strength does deteriorate. Passion itself takes a tumble with age. We know this is so. Yet, our fast-changing world can become so unfamiliar that we can easily become those Strangers in a Strange Land that we heard or read about years ago.

Heinlein’s character said: “Thinking doesn’t pay. It just makes you discontented with what you see around you.”  Time passes and consciousness is overloaded with evaluations and judgments made by past choices. It becomes harder to distinguish the winner from the loser when you know each all too well. We can become confused or dismayed about the directions our society and nations are going.

“Thou art god, I am god. All that groks is god,” Heinlein wrote.

Grok may be the only English word that is derived from a fictional Martian language. “Grok” was introduced in Robert A. Heinlein’s 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. It means to understand fully and intuitively with empathy of intuition. It is hard to grow old and not see the reality of these observations. “Random chance is not a sufficient explanation of the Universe—in fact, random chance is not sufficient to explain random chance; the pot cannot hold itself.”

Everything living has a blind instinct to survive built into its system.

“The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.”

― Robert A. HeinleinStranger in a Strange Land

PURLOINED

 

Out of nowhere, that unknown place where thoughts breed and memories thicken, a song keeps running through my head.  It is not a new song, but a simple old melody with quaint lyrics. Nor is this tune one that would ingratiatingly ingrain itself on a normal brain.  Yet it did—and all because to the word ‘purloined’.

THE DARING YOUNG MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE

CHORUS: He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young man on the flying Trapeze. His movements were graceful, all girls he could please, and my love he purloined away.”

‘Purloin’ is a word you do not here often in the modern world. It means to underhandedly steal away. Though the root of the word has nothing to do with ‘loin’ in the erotic sense, the lyrics in the chorus insinuate a sexual arousal.

Once I was happy but now I’m forlorn

Like an old coat that is tattered and town

Left on this wide world to fret and to mourn,

Betrayed by a maid in her teens

Ah, yes, the proverbial maid in her teens—when hormones run rampant, passions soar, and common sense often flies into the stratosphere.  The maiden’s  curves and appeal are often the most voluptuous when she is in estrus, giving off the primitive scent of ovulation.

The girl that I loved she was handsome

I tried all I knew her to please

But I could not please her one quarter so well

Like that man on the Flying Trapeze

CHORUS:

He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease

A daring young man on the flying Trapeze

His movements were graceful, all girls he could please

And my love he purloined away.

According to The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, the 1868 song “The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze” is “arguably the most famous circus song in American popular music”.

JULES LEOTARDThe song has a known history. It was about the exploits—sexual and artistic—of Jules Léotard, who developed the trapeze into an art form in the 1860s. He invented and popularized the one-piece athletic wear now called for him. The suit clearly displayed his underlying physique, a look that charmed women and inspired the song about purloined love.  The song was first published in 1867, words written by the British lyricist and singer George Leybourne, music by Gaston Lyle. Thomas Hischak says the song was first heard in American Vaudeville in the 1870s, where it was popularized by Johnny Allen.

Léotard, of course, invented the leotard. This simple one-piece garment allowed for the unrestricted movement which was so vital in his death-defying act. Later,  it would become standard wear for ballet dancers.

Léotard was paid a hundred and eighty pounds a week for his act, the equivalent of five thousand today, but died at age twenty-eight from an infectious disease and not from a fall.

Purloined in a lovely description for stealthy stealing. The end result of “purloin,” is that the object is gone, stolen, lifted, pilfered, embezzled, or pilfered or swiped. “but the style or manner of the crime varies with the term. They terms all have shades of meanings. “Pilfering” or “filching” is a hidden crime. A “heist” is a major theft that often involves George Clooney or Frank Sinatra.

One famous use of the word “purloin” is found in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story written in 1845, “The Purloined Letter”. It was one of three works that were forerunners to the modern detective story.  The Origin and Etymology of the word seems to be from Middle English, to put away, misappropriate, derived from the Anglo-French purluigner.