Summer on a Shoestring

Grassy Green Glory
August 1, 2016, 5:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The following is a stream of consciousness that materialized as a result of a morning meditation session in the backyard of the red house.

The first green arrived on the scene around 2.7 billion years ago and this powerful verdant force created a hospitable atmosphere for life approximately 0.4 billion years later. Millions of years after this event and the evolution of terrestrial land plants, a floral component provided a niche for the evolution of our first primate ancestor. The radiation of angiosperms, flowering plants, occurred around 60 million years ago, which is around the same time that the first ancestor of primates, Plesiadapiforms, evolved. Some hypothesize that the fruit on terminal branches are what facilitated the evolution of grasping hands, which is a characteristic inherent to primates. Angiosperms enabled the evolution of Homo sapiens who then domesticated lineages of our benevolent leafy companions giving rise to agriculture around 10 thousand years ago. A population boom and the establishment of cites followed. In every conceivable way, our history is inextricably linked with that of plants.

Plants not only dictate our history, but our daily life and future prospects. Humans breathe out and plants breathe in; plants breathe out and humans breathe in. Flora captures noxious gases that are released from our bodies, cars, and coal plants. It then uses that carbon dioxide to create beauty with a functional purpose—leaves to capture the sun’s energy, flowers with a nectar reward to entice pollinators, honeyed fruit to attract seed disseminators, and all the while yielding oxygen as a by-product. This splendor is pervasive and awe-inspiring: a blissful summer day with sun-ripened berries and the thick, sweet smell of honeysuckle; an unforgettable fall with fiery leaves carpeting every surface; a heartwarming winter with a dusting of snow coating fragrant pine needles; a luscious spring with wildflowers exploding across hillsides. Plants provide food and shelter for our beloved birds, invertebrates, and mammals (ourselves included). We live in trees, eat on trees, sleep on trees, and will likely be buried in a tree. We owe our very existence to the green world around us, embrace and respect it.

-Laurel Brigham


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