I’ve been a big fan of “Antiques Roadshow” over the years. Stuff that has been “hand-crafted” with skill and care seem to fetch the highest value among merchants and collectors of old stuff. A lady brings in some old carved pale green stone bowls and blushes when the small bowls are worth a better part of a cool million.
Now, I think green bowls are nice, but BOWLS?? What about one of those bright red birds out on my bird feeder? Or one of the several squirrels dancing from tree to tree a little distance from the cardinals? What about one of those trees? We have lots of black locust and wild cherry trees behind our house. The black locust command a certain respect because of the needle sharp thorns that cover their branches.
We have those dazzling red cardinals in abundance and they seem to resemble the larger and more rambunctious blue jays -except for size and color of course. Just as the red of the cardinal seems redder than red, so does the blueness of the blue jay get your attention. Those colors aren’t from pigments in their feathers or skin we are told. But are produced by selective reflection of light sort of like a prizm. Their feathers are engineered to reflect only certain wavelengths of light based on a precise knowledge of the optical properties of the plastic-like material secreted by quill folicles all over the bird’s body.
Not only does the feather give the bird a pleasing sense when viewed by the human eye, but it forms an optical grid over the bird’s body that retains infrared wavelength light coming from the bird’s body enabling the cardinals and blue jays to happily feast on peanuts and seeds in the middle of winter cold winds and snow.
We are surrounded by a world full of wonder, living creatures of every sort imaginable and more. All engineered for us! Teaching us the meaning of words like marvelous, magnificent, gorgeous and stuff like that… It’s art in 3 dimensions, no 4 cause it’s living and breathing and active, no 5 cause it reproduces itself so that all generations of men and women can enjoy them, be inspired by them, be renewed and rejuvenated by watching them and beholding their beauty and perhaps grasp the love that went into their existence in our lives.