How lucky I am to live where I do. Even in this urban setting there are places and moments where a wider world breaks into my consciousness. Walking beside Dartmouth Cove one day I heard small waves lapping against stones and that gentle sound seemed to still other noises. I became aware of dry grass beneath my feet, frozen ground, birds on the water and in the sky. I wondered whether other creatures are, like us, focussed only on their own immediate needs, the desires of the self. Or are they like William Blake’s bird, “an immense world of delight clos’d by … senses five”? An animal knows nothing of Mozart or Michaelangelo. What cares she for Austen or Shakespeare, Copernicus or Curie? Yet perhaps she is forever finely tuned to rhythms, colours, seasons which great human minds harvest and weave into wonders for the rest of us.
The magic of photosynthesis: how a green plant captures a passing photon and thereby sets in motion a chain that leads eventually to us.