Saturday, December 1, 2012

A feast of anthocyanins and xanthophylls

I began December the same way I ended November, blogging based on my observations while walking one of our dogs.  These fallen leaves of Cascara Sagrada were particularly bright during a light rain.  I brought them inside and searched for a suitable background.  One of our bar stools seemed about right.
I love the rainbow of colors I find on the ground until the first serious snow covers them up.  It's a visual feast, but these same chemicals that give fruits like blueberries and grapes and vegetables like squashes and carrots their color have nutritional value, so they are an actual culinary feast as well.
I find that the more I learn about the chemical processes involved in their creation, the more beautiful they become to me. 
This reminds me of an issue I've discussed with friends, that is, does scientific knowledge about rainbows diminish their beauty?  Did Newton ruin our enjoyment by "unweaving the rainbow," as Richard Dawkins calls Newton's discoveries in a book by that title?  I'm with Dawkins.  The more we learn, the more possibilities of beauty are open to us.  That is, if the big words of organic chemistry don't scare us off.

1 comment:

  1. Joe,

    I agree whole heartedly! This post very much reminds me of a quote by Carl Sagan about the beauty of life.

    "The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it; but the way those atoms are put together."

    It is always enlightening leaning about the connection between things that were seemingly unrelated. We indeed are all connected...