|14 Apr 2003 @ 18:31, by Christopher Puccini|
When I was a small boy growing up in a very rural area, I spent most of my free time deep in the wilderness, eagerly absorbing all nature had to show me. One summer day I spied a huge hornet's nest in a tree. I had never seen one half it's size before. As I stood in awe, I noticed large black hornets with white tails entering and leaving the nest. At that moment I decided I would return to that spot in the fall after the cold weather had killed all the hornets.
When that cold fall day arrived I returned to the nest and watched patiently until I was convinced that the hornets were gone, at least for the season. I climbed the tree, carefully removed the nest from the branch and brought it home. I placed it on my bed and began peeling back the exterior to reveal what the combs that were stacked like a wedding cake (the nest was upside down so the largest comb was at the bottom and smallest on top). Each comb presented a hexagonal array as the familiar "honey comb pattern" but instead of honey, each cell had a black shiney convex luster to it, almost like a jewel. No sooner did I make this observation than I also noticed movement in each cell, synchronous rotation. First slow then accelerating until the entire array was moving in a hypnotic frenzy. At about that time I realized that I was watching the tails of the hornets that were waking from their hibernation as a result of being it the warm house.
This realization dawned just as the hornets began to leave the combs and exact their revenge on me for having intruded on their turf.
At this juncture you are probably wondering if there is a point to this story. The point is that this particular adventure revealed to me that each of those hornets in the combs, face-down, were totally synchronized with eachother even though they obviously had no physical contact with eachother. As their tails rotated, each one pointed exactly in the same direction at the same instant. Intuitively, I knew at the time that nature possesses a mysterious mechanism that unites all of it's diverse elements in one great pattern that goes largely unseen by most of us most of the time.