28 February – Smart growth

Long before our smart phones and the internet of things,
flowers were responding to data and the insight it brings.
Biological algorithms were programming swift decisions
that served nature’s needs with pin point precision.
Take the crocuses I walked past yesterday and today,
wide open to clear skies, then closed again to grey.
Not only do they read the signs for when to germinate,
they’re busy calculating when it’s best to pollinate.
When the sun shines and insects are out for a feed,
clever flowers open wide to fulfil their deepest need.
But when it’s wet and quiet, they shut up shop again –
why risk their precious treasure getting washed away by rain?
After all, pollen’s the reason for bothering to bloom at all,
so they wisely protect their assets for when visitors come to call.
Technology is still impressive, we’d be fools to think otherwise,
but there’s smart growth all around us, so let’s open up our eyes.
Often we think of flowers unfurling just once from their buds
but miss their intricate systems that harness the power of bugs,
let alone begin to imagine how the wood wide web works
as trees use mycorrhizal networks to converse without words.
So next time you marvel at computers and all they can achieve,
remember the complex codes hard-wired into growing green.