Michael Ellis

I like edges; they add flavor, a bit of sharpness, and diversity to life. All of us in the Bay area literally live right on the brink, straddling the San Andreas fault that most dramatic edge between the Pacific and the North American plate. It can be quite stimulating as in Loma Prieata and 1906.

In the natural world some of the richest biological regions are edges. You know this intuitively. When you visit a mature redwood forest, it is often profoundly still and quiet, no mammals and few birds. And a stroll through an open grassland is also apt to be a bit boring. But hang out at the edge, where the forest meets the grassland. Here there is an increase in life and activity. At this interface exists a greater variety of habitats and niches opportunities for plants and animals to exploit. Temporal edges.

Many mornings I rollerblade before dawn. It is often completely dark when I begin; I have to strain to see the path. And as the earth turns toward the sun, the light slowly comes. It’s nearly imperceptibly at first. But gradually the trees, leaves, and rocks take form and by the time I’m done, I can see the world clearly. I have experienced the edge called dawn. Now I am standing at another edge. I am getting married next week.

This is Michael Ellis with a Perspective.



Posted on

November 19, 2010