meristem

My previous post was about an outdoors science math project adventure on Ash Wednesday, when we looked for Fibonacci spirals in nature and then watched videos on Khan Academy. I mentioned that I learned a word (and then I just stopped the post, yay awkard closings). 

THAT WORD IS MERISTEM.
Meristem is (thank you, Merriam-Webster) formative plant tissue.


So. Meristem.

Leaves (or petals or whatever) get started in the spots on the meristem where a growth hormone (auxin) is most absent. When leaves begin developing, auxin concentrates on that growth. The NEXT new leaf comes in where the auxin has flowed away. It turns out that the optimal placement of new growth (for access to minimally-blocked sunlight) is in a spiral. Leaf placement at 137.5 degrees around the stem creates a *drum roll * Fibonacci spiral, which allows for perpetual spiralling of new growth. Or something like that. I’m not completely clear on the science/math, and there are exceptions (or oopsies and alternate placement).

I WAS EXICTED BECAUSE, in “real life” as in nature, growth opportunities happen when we flood what already exists (our current project/responsibility/duty/task/to-do list items) with resources (time, energy, money, whatever) and then evaluate the gaps that have been created. I dunno about in nature, but in my life what happens is that I get focused on a few specific areas, and other things don’t get attention. Let me be really honest and say that it’s more like the gaps start squealing for attention. 


One of the things that I wish would just magically happen for me falls in with the idea: I wish I could catch the gaps and adjust the flow of resources before there’s a screaming disaster. It’s why I spend so much time building goals and evaluating what works and trying to clear out (prune, if you will) what’s not working. Sometimes I get nervous that I’m wasting resources or that I’m cutting out the wrong things, so I just kinda sit back and don’t do much of anything.

We don’t grow when we’re sitting still, refusing (for whatever reason) to utilize resources. (I DO NOT GROW WHEN I AM SITTING STILL.) We have to keep moving so that we can see the gaps and what’s producing fruit and what is just sucking up energy.

I’ve been working on a project with this in mind, and I’m hoping to share some more ideas soon. 

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