Binding Energy

Binding energy is powerful. A single leaf touches a rush, and holds to it. One by one, other leaves touch, and are held, each by a point of touch.

Strands can be laid out to touch along their entire lengths, with many other strands at the same time. The result can be an oriole nest in a feral Japanese plum tree.

An even more complex form of binding takes place in the crested wheat grass. It ‘s not that these stalks touch that is the binding (although it is that; they bind the light and water to themselves to maintain a low profile which invites grazing animals to pass through them rather than in the scrub that’s likely around) but that they knock against us as we walk, binding our attention to them. Soon we are harvesting seeds, doing the work the plant need not do for itself. We have been not only bound but charmed.

In a variation on weaving, the ponderosa pines binds water to its needles, then allows it to bind to itself, to form drops; they appear at the “drip line” of the tree, right where the roots are underground to receive the water; they use binding energy to give themselves a drink.

Of course, a spider can come along and bind all that together, to bind a few hundred flies to its bounds.

Another wonderful adaptation of binding energy. And, of course, a lake binds the energy of the wind.

Big Bar Lake

None of these bonds are chains.


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