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  • Writer's pictureJean Linville

Maps & the 8th Wonder of the World

Like most folks, we take trips periodically. In fact, we will be hitting the road in just a few weeks. Even though we will be going back to a few places that we have visited before, I am going to have to pull out some maps. Yes, I still use folded paper maps as I find it gives me a better perspective of the lay of the land and a better sense of where I have been and where I am going. I know the general geography, but I could never find my way to a specific beach, cove or hiking trail without my maps. If I were to actually try and find my own way who knows where I would end up, which brings me to the wonder of this week.

The other day I decided to take my thermos full of morning coffee and go sit amongst the rows native perennials that I planted this spring at The Hickories and just sit and enjoy the brightening sky and the emerging day. The rows of now full grown plants were filled with all manner of life and activity. Several bee species, spiders, aphids, ladybugs, beetles, worms and butterflies! I couldn't help but wonder, how did they all find these little flowering rows of New York Ironweed, Joe Pye Weed and Swamp Milkweed? None of these plants were present in this location last year, so even with their built in multi-generational memories (to learn more about this search genetically driven epigenetic basis of migration in butterflies) there was no way for them to know that there were beneficial plants in this location and yet here they were sipping, munching away and fostering a new generation.

What an amazing skill set to possess! The ability to find food, nurseries, and temporary homes quickly and efficiently. I sat in amazement watching the vibrant and diverse population that was thriving in this very new "community". These strips of native plants offer pretty solid evidence of the truth of the adage "If you build it, they will come". No maps needed. Some how, some way, all of these little beings found their way to this small corner of the world and set about making a life for themselves. What a humbling experience it is to sit with these plants and their inhabitants. Obviously our job is to keep creating healthy habitats and then sit back and watch the magic unfold. The eighth wonder of the world is literally sitting right next to us! No passport or map needed, just a willingness to slow down, look a little closer and revel in all the wonders that happens around us each day.

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