A Beautiful Trippy Voyage Deep Inside a Giant Redwood Leaf (with Big Bill Neidjie + Ansel Adams)

Two minutes of wonder to start the day: this magical trippy visualization by the California Academy of Sciences of the inside of a giant redwood tree leaf, in scales measured in centimetres down to nanometres.

Starting at the stomata, where carbon dioxide enters the plant, before finally landing at the thylakoid membrane, where light-based photosynthetic reactions occur, the animation reveals just some of the extraordinarily complex systems underpinning what we might easily overlook as a mere leaf. 

(We prefer it with the sound off.  For an annotated version with detail and science, watch here.)

Some of the most beautiful images of redwoods were made by Ansel Adams, like the one below. You can see an array at the Center for Creative Photography’s collection.  It’s rather amazing to see them once you’ve traveled a leaf…

Redwoods, Bull Creek Flat, Northern California by Ansel Adams; The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona

A lovely accompaniment to both are these words of Big Bill Neidjie, an Australian Aboriginal elder and the last speaker of the Gaagudju language of northern Kakadu:

He watching you
You look at tree,
He listen to you.
He got no finger,
He can’t speak.
But that leaf,
He pumping, growing
Growing in the night.
While you sleeping
You dream something.
Tree and grass same thing.
They grow with your body,
With your feeling.


via Aeon with thanks to Susan Dworski

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