Monday, July 18, 2011

Why I'm Not A Biochemist

I've been watching bugs on flowers for two months now, and I'm seeing interesting patterns.
The longhorned beetles in photos 3 and 4 from the top are always on Angelica. The Plant bug in the 6th photo has been seen on Yarrow and Daisies. The red and black beetle in photo #5 has only been seen on Angelica. The Crab Spider, shown in the second photo has appeared on Yarrow, Daisies, and St. John's Wort as well as on blades of grass. Last summer I also saw them on Gum Plant, but that hasn't bloomed yet this summer. The Common Checkered Clerid beetle, a green and black beauty, seems to rest on virtually every kind of flower. This has not been a scientific study, but enough observation to see some patterns and arouse my curiosity. After a nature hike, I often search the internet or library for more information on some of the flowers and bugs I've seen. But my curiosity stops short of leading me to focus on one narrow question as a life's study. I've met biochemists who have studied various physiological phenomena in cloned cells but who might never have seen the type of animal from which those cells were cultured. I admire the tenacity and endurance of people who can be that narrowly focused, but I also know I am not that kind of person. I love learning a little bit about a lot, and I suspect I'll be hiking the trails, taking pictures, and drawing and writing in my journals as long as I'm able to. I also love to introduce people to the wonders of nature they may have overlooked. I'll never tire of the thrill I see on people's faces when they first discover the Goldenrod Crab Spider, especially if we happen to catch it in the act of feasting on a butterfly or bumble bee. My fellow hikers and i have seen this act at least a dozen times this summer. It's amazing.
As the forest and roadsides become drier at the Quincy elevation, spring is just now unfolding in the higher country such as in the Lakes Basin and around Bucks Lake. Tomorrow's report will be on the new flowers blooming on the Mill Creek Trail and Bucks Creek Trail as of this past Saturday. There's still snow on the trail in places and the lilies are just beginning to show their colors. Hurry and take a hike. Spring will pass by quickly.

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