I suppose that, in a way, it begins with this. Ants. And I always had a great love of them.
Not sure that my Dad does. He’s had a problem with ants at his house. And so that’s a little understandable.
But for me, ants in whatever form, are interesting. And they are interesting to this person too. The point is that my early childhood was about looking at ants, and other insects. I can remember my first encounter with Cicadas. And fireflies. And scorpions (all right, they are not insects — like spiders — and I like those too).
But it’s merely a form of inspiration, to the love of all things natural. And of course I’ve taught others about that as well. Early in my time on the island, or traveling anywhere in the world, I’ve looked for them and sharing that seeing. And I’ve tried to point these observations to others. They tune in.
In fact I’m always looking for them, at them. Anyway. Anywhere. But aside from an incipient character of curiosity, it was partially my early connection with this man that link me to this form of paying attention. And that’s what it’s all about — paying attention.
But this man (who also loved looking at things, having discovered the imported Fire Ant when he was 13) was instrumental in my early connection to the natural realm — somewhere under the age of 6, when I was living in Trenton, NJ, I went to the American Museum of Natural History — and there was a story that was formulated by E.O. Wilson. And it was on ants. Not any ants. Army Ants. Which of course, being the boy that I was fascinated by…immediately. And that stuck. So E.O.Wilson changed my life.
And I had a chance to meet him over the course of the last several months. And I told him that story. He was at TED (the conference, www.ted.com). And he was there for a very special reason. He was one of the recipients of the TED prize. $100,000.00 for his work. And what’s his work, aside from a life of working in the exploration of consideration of the state of the world’s ecosystems? It’s this, quoting him: “Imagine an electronic page for each species of organism on Earth available everywhere by single access on command.“
But his prize is for this, which is, as of a couple of weeks, now live in opening development:
Check out the video. 2 minutes.
To reconnecting with Professor Wilson, I’m lucky like that, I suppose — having recalled that link to his presence. The present. However, I wished that I’d gotten him to sign my copy of The Ants.
Godspeed, Professor Wilson.
Wishing well, to every member of the ecosystem.