This past weekend we went up to the cottage. We hit the season just right I think because we got treated to something entirely new: Fish nests. It turns out that bass like to go into the shallows of lakes and make nests on the bottom of the lake and once the nests are full of fertilized eggs the males hover over them protectively for some time. Clearly this is nothing new to science but it was new to Elli and I so we spent a good chunk of time sitting watching the male bass scare away other fish and carefully protect their little ones. Normally males in nature just leave their sperm and get the hell out so it is nice to be able to talk about mating practices in nature with Elli without lambasting the deadbeats fathers for once! These father fish were even brave enough to defend their nests from humans; despite being only 10 centimeters long one of them attacked The Actuary and slammed itself into him when he got too close to the nest. No damage done of course but boy did he jump!
Today Wendy linked to a neat video on the subject of jellyfish. It talked about the many different kinds of things in the sea that could be called jellyfish and showed an amazing range of different habitats, body types and lifestyles. Much like the video series Life this was a fantastic glimpse into realms that the vast majority of us will never see ourselves and which no human had ever dreamed of until only a few years ago. From worms and crabs that live miles below the surface of the ocean near volcanic vents to cave dwelling bacteria that have never seen the light there are things that are unimaginable and there are so many that we will never be able to see them all. Fungus that can get into a creature, control its mind and then burst out the back of its head in an explosion of seeds that are ready to infect a new host? This is a real thing, not a science fiction story.
The reason I am talking about all this is to illustrate just how incredible and mind blowing the real world is. Often when I talk to people about religion, spirituality, zodiac signs, homeopathy or any other faith based idea set they ask why I limit myself to what science can prove - as if that only contains boring things. There is no need whatsoever to make things up to find unending wonder and joy in the world around us and the search for real things that will utterly blow our minds is one that will likely never end. We don't need to believe in patterns that simply aren't reflective of reality to find beauty, creativity or childlike delight in the utterly unexpected. The world is full of fish nests for all of us to find and all that is needed is the desire to go out wandering with the willingness to be blown away by that which is real. We can all rest assured that requiring proof to support any incredible claim will not lower the number of amazing things that are out there in any way that matters - we will all die long before we run out of awesome to go out and find.