Nature’s Depths

Walking through nature with John Palka, a neuroscientist who loves plants and ponders big questions

Exploration

Monarch Wing Edge

The Dynamic Control of Colors

Exploration

More than anything, autumn is the season of brilliant colors, and most of us are immediately drawn to them. However, as much as we relish them, the colors can also prompt us to ponder. In one of the earliest posts on Nature’s Depths, “Our Brightly Colored World” (November 29, 2015), almost exactly four years ago, we asked, where do colors come from and how do we get to see them? Let’s look at that question again now, and then take it further.

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Widow Skimmer Male

The Dragons and Damsels of Elm Creek

Exploration

The last piece I wrote for Nature’s Depths, dated November 24, 2019, bore the name “Beauty and Love.” Almost exactly eight months have passed since then, eight months since my beloved of sixty years left this world, eight months since my life was permanently changed. And yet, some important things have not changed, and walking in Nature with open eyes, an inquisitive mind, and a responsive heart is one of them.

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Visiting bumblebee

The Intimate Life of a Hollyhock Flower

Exploration

The back wall of the house where we spend each summer is lined with plants that have been among my favorites since my childhood—hollyhocks (Alcaea, most often A. rosea, Family Malvaceae). The stems grow tall enough to project above the rain gutters. The buds at the top give way to open flowers below, and then to maturing fruits near the bottom. Every morning bumblebees arrive to frolic in the flowers, flitting from one to another. A garden paradise awaiting a close look!

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