Followers of my blog may recall previous posts where I have included vintage stainless steel tools. This antique, polished aluminum binoculars was a find during a trip to Maine many years ago. I initially drew the binoculars from the front, showing both peepers, but I discarded that rendering. I then turned the object and saw it in a completely new light; thinking how it resembled the many lighthouses along the coast of Maine where the field glasses first caught my eye in a seaside antique shop .
In a few months, my wife and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. For her engagement ring, I had purchased a 1st century Roman carnelian gem with an intaglio of a song bird. The gem was then set in a custom made and period-correct gold signet ring. I presented the ring to her and “popped the question” during a stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were in front of the Temple of Dendur, a reconstructed Egyptian temple surrounded by a reflecting pool and located in a magnificent glass atrium. We still consider that part of the Museum “ours”. And the engraved little song bird…it became our ‘logo’ of sorts, appearing on the wedding invitations and our stationary.
Mexican jumping beans. I was always fascinated by them. What made them move? Was there a micro battery-operated mechanism inside that strange little bean that made it twitch? Well, truth is stranger than fiction. The ‘beans’ are actually seed pods from the Sebastiana Pavoniana tree, a shrub native to the arid areas of Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. When the shrub blooms in Spring and Summer, it’s flowers attract the Laspeyresia Saltitans moth, with egg laying females depositing their progeny onto the seed pods of the tree. The egg larvae then bore a hole into the pods where they individually feed on the seed within, creating a thin-shelled capsule. After consuming the nourishment inside, the larva has room to move around his tiny home. Its movement is triggered by survival instincts as the larvae wiggle and squirm whenever heat builds up inside the capsule, thus causing the pod to ‘jump’.
After learning about this, I thought it was even more bizarre than the idea of nano-robotic activity in beans…”you mean to tell me that I just purchased some strange, foreign, larvae-laden seed pods that were still moving in their flimsy plastic packaging while hanging next to a display of beef jerky and breath mints at the local convenience store?”