Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better. ---Albert Einstein
When we look deep into nature, as Einstein suggested, we can understand more about our connectivity.
What I am about to explain might boggle your mind. Eons ago, before Google, Twitter and Facebook, nature developed a remarkable network of interconnectedness, right below our feet. It is the language of living plants and how they communicate and help each other. This connectivity is so interrelated that if we could peer down deep below the ground upon which we walk, one plant system would be indistinguishable from the other. It seems the grand design of connectivity extends beyond our human existence to the plant world.
The “Wood-Wide Web”
Botanists call it the ‘wood wide web’. Known as mycorrhizal, it is an invisible network beneath our feet where connections and exchanges are happening every second of every day. This underground root structure is an internet of complex systems with mushrooms as the “carrier”. When trouble brews, signals and sent, plants receive information, and they help each other. Fungi sounds the call: Nature’s 911.
Here are a few ways:
- When plants are in stress, their underground neighbors secret substances that travel up from their roots to above-ground branches to ward of nibblers invaders that might attack.
- Neighbor plants create conditions that can attract natural enemies of would-be invaders of the plant in stress.
- When a tree limb is suddenly severed, the “ouch” is transmitted to the network, resulting in nourishing minerals sent by the collective plantlife.
The next time you bring a covered dish to an ailing neighbor, think of the network of living plants under your feet, likewise sending nutrients to each other. Nature teaches us we are all connected.
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. Thomas Merton
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ----William Shakespeare