A helicopter seed (Illustration: MC)
One recurring observation I make to myself and friends is, “There is just too much life and too much talent in this world.” My tone would suggest—and perhaps rightly so—that I regret both. It sounds as if I am complaining that there is an excess of both. Somewhere along the line, I am probably complaining. That is an unsettling thing to say but I do say it. More often than not, my comment is followed by this: “The future now lies in not being talented or alive.”
Everywhere I look, everything reinforces my observation. These days, for instance, it is the flying maple seeds, also known as the helicopter seeds, that prompt me. My backyard is covered under those falling from a neighbor’s maple trees. It is one of the most joyful and entertaining phenomena of nature—watching the helicopter seeds fall down rotating. It is like a single rotor fan where the weight of the seed at one end ensures that the wing rotates in a certain way. Gravity and air currents take care of how far the seeds fall from the mother tree. Nature’s intention is not necessarily to spread it far and wide but if a sudden gust of wind happens they can travel quite a distance. The idea is to ensure that the species proliferates. Thousands of flying maple seeds fall every year from a single tree. Not all of them blossom into full trees but quite a few do. Another thought occurred to me while watching the seeds copter down—what is lovely in a tree would be gross in a man. (You figure out what I am saying).
Since I was talking about the fact of too much life, I must point out that yesterday I saw that one of the seeds had managed to wedge itself between two rocks which had captured some moisture from a nearby fish pond. It had already begun to blossom into a sapling. Since I am surrounded by maple tees, I could not possibly let another one grow. Unfortunately, I had to uproot it. It was while uprooting that I mumbled to myself, “There is just too much life on this planet.”
It is in this context, I fully agree with the idea that life is so hardy and the ingredients that lead to it so tenacious that it is inconceivable that it is not spread across the universe.