Leaves and Grass
6:03 AM – April 25, 2017
The birds are doing their thing this morning and the light is only starting to hit the trees. Coffee is in hand and it is a cool morning, so it seemed necessary to touch up the heat in the kitchen.
Spring has happened and the land all around us is green. This weekend the development of leaves seemed to happen all at once and each time this awakening of the trees surprises me. Looking at the huge white oak tree in the back yard forces me to remember a few things about plant physiology. As a Senior in college, plant growth at the cellular level is not exactly a riveting topic. It’s also incredibly complicated and a difficult subject as I recall because getting a C in the class seemed to be my goal after seeing my midterm grade from Dr. Hufford. He was one of the most challenging Professors in the Biology department. Looking back on the course, perhaps it was designed to see if graduating Seniors in the Biology program had learned anything about life and the mechanics and pathways which drive it. I really do not want to consider the stages of cellular differentiation any further this morning or I will have to switch from coffee to bourbon. It is enough to say every cell starts out being able to do the same thing really and as the cell develops it takes on different characteristics in order to perform the myriad of functions required in the plant like moving water or creating energy. See, I did learn something!
Perhaps the better lesson from plant physiology is we all begin with the same potential capable of being any part of the world and through specialization we find our path. That is a good thought of the morning and one to build on for the day, as I look over the leaves and grass in the field and the light wakes up all the millions of cells to start photosynthesis this morning. Having mentioned leaves and grass it brings to mind one of the world’s greatest writers, Walt Whitman, who in 1855 published a collection of his writings, Leaves of Grass. I will leave you with his quote that sums up both the complexity and simplicity of my plant physiology struggles. Be well.
“I believe that a leaf of grass is no less than the journey – work of the stars.
– Walt Whitman