We really like the National Audubon Society Field Guide series. These little books are compact, portable, and it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Of course, their compact nature means that they are not particularly comprehensive, but we’ve been able to find in there most of the plants, animals, and minerals we’ve encountered in the natural world.
Above you can see the well-loved and well-used volumes we own. The wonderful thing about the Audubon books is that, despite their small size, they are so much more than a dry listing of families, genera, species, and unpronounceable Latin names. Their vivid, colorful descriptions really bring whatever you’re reading about alive. (That is, unless you’re reading about rocks. Then I guess you’d say the description really…um…solidifies your knowledge. Or maybe you’d say “this book rocks!” Or it is a…gem).
Anyway, the other day, I wanted to figure out the difference between a Monarch butterfly and a Viceroy. They look an awful lot alike, at least to my untrained eye. So I looked up Viceroys and found this very, very cool fact about their caterpillars. I’ll quote it straight from the book, because I loved the wry humor inherent in this scientific fact: “The irregular shape and color of the caterpillar produce a striking resemblance to bird droppings, giving the insect considerable protection from predators.”
Ha, ha, ha, ha…I love that! I also found, when I looked up Monarchs, that “The Canadians call this butterfly “King Billy” because its orange and black colors are those of King William of Orange.” And, of course, that’s how the Monarch got its name.
So here’s where I deviate from talking about Nature to talk about a different kind of nature—human nature. My nature, to be specific. I just really need to know. When you out there in Blogland hear some fascinating, wondrous fact like the above, do any of you get excited? I mean, like, really, really excited? Like I-Just-Won-A-Hundred-Bucks-in-the-Lottery excited?
I do. When I read or hear something like this, my pulse quickens, my face flushes, and I can’t wait to tell someone else. In fact, I cringe to say this, but when I read the fact about Viceroy caterpillars resembling bird droppings, I laughed out loud and…clapped my hands in delight. Yes, you read that right. I clapped my hands in glee over hearing that a caterpillar resembles bird poop.
I am particularly prone to this when it comes to word derivations. For example, I just found out that the word “nice” comes from a Middle English word meaning “foolish,” which comes from a Latin word meaning “to be ignorant.” Wow. Incredible. Now I know why so many people say I’m “nice.”
So, what I want to know is this: Do any of you out there get excited like this? Okay, maybe not “clap-your-hands” excited. I know that’s probably over the edge. *Cringe* But maybe you just feel really happy about some quirky little fact? And please don’t think this is a shameless attempt to bump up my comment count. I really am curious. Am I really that strange or am I just really easy to please? Or maybe both?
And no, you don’t have to comment. But it sure would be…nice.