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A Disaster, or an Opportunity

Recently, there was an all-day party at the new homestead, which featured Don Ehlen's outstanding collection of gorgeous and fascinating insects. I want to relate something Don said as we talked science, the universe, and everything. We were discussing the aftermath of Mount St. Helens's May 18th, 1980 eruption. And he mentioned an insight he'd had hiking there in the years after. Lupines were among the first plants to colonize the blast zone, and there's a particular caterpillar or some such that feeds and lives upon them. I wish I could remember what, but I was exhausted and slightly sloshed at that point, so memory falters, alas. Anyway. The area he hiked through was teeming with lupines and a far bigger population of these particular arthropods than normal. And he said he realized that what was a complete disaster from other perspectives happened to be a Golden Age to these little dudes. They'd had to put up with just the occasional lupine dotted here and there before. Now, they had all the lupines they could possibly want. The world, from their perspective, had improved immensely.

July 23, 2015 — Dana Hunter

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