The pineapple sage is blooming today in bright red exuberance. I love this sage because I love being engaged in weeding or mulching or planting or simply being in the garden and hearing “zoom-zoom” go by, telling me that a hummingbird is about and is headed for the sage.
Many years ago I read Michael Roads’ Talking with Nature book series. (Hugely recommended!) He describes an experience he had at one time, witnessing some of the Earth’s evolutionary history and seeing a time when Tyrannosaurus rex walked the planet The guide with Roads asked him as they watched T. rex, “Does this remind you of anything?” He realized it did. The dinosaur reminded him of hummingbirds ferociously defending their territories.
There may be no direct genetic link between hummingbirds and Tyrannosaurus rex – or there may be. In either case, I enjoy the idea that the energetic essence of what was once one of the largest fierce creatures on this planet has evolved into one of the smallest, stunningly beautiful, delicate, joy-bringing creatures in my garden. I delight too in knowing that is has not entirely lost its ferocity.
The pineapple sage, with its long throat, is the perfect match to these beautiful birds, leading me to wonder: How long have these two been together? What dinosaurs did the sage’s ancestors know? How entwined are their evolutionary journeys?
I am currently reading Lynne McTaggert’s The Bond, and have been delighted to learn that the theory of evolution through random mutation has been disproved and is on its way to extinction. One interesting experiment that McTaggert describes was carried out over 20 years ago by John Cairns at Harvard’s School of Public Health. He put colonies of lactose-intolerant bacteria in Petri dishes with only lactose as a food source after carefully confirming that no lactose-digesting genes were present in any of the bacteria.
The colonies didn’t die out, however. In every single case he found bacterial colonies that had made changes to one single type of gene: those preventing lactose metabolism. “The bacteria had defied the central dogma [of genetic science]: they had evolved purposefully, not randomly, in order to restore balance and harmony with their environment.”
Though these results were initially dismissed as “heresy”, other researchers have since confirmed and refined these findings. Mutations happen, but nature has a process that deliberately creates many mutations and then selects the most functional replacement for an original gene that is no longer in balance with its environment. Evolution is not random. It’s a cooperative process, and the bond that ties the hummingbird to the pineapple sage could indeed be a very old one.