Wind and the White Bird

Red Bird of Paradise flower
Orange/Red Bird of Paradise flower

Brandon Wiggins, Author and Conservationist

The unpredictability of gusts is the fertilizer of structural stability.

Strelizia nicolai, also known as the “White Bird of Paradise,” is unique in a number of ways. Strelizia is one of the most widely used ornamental species in the world. Unlike most other cultivars, the “White Bird” is used in both interior and exterior applications. Check out any casino in Vegas or senior facility landscape in Tampa and one can find the strelizia genus, especially the “Red Bird,” in lobbies as well as parking lot dividers.

The Bird is able to not only survive but to flourish in a multitude of habitats. She exhibits incredible flexibility in both genetic structure and fortitude. There are very few species that can, and perhaps in an abstract way will, achieve success through sheer botanical determination under such circumstances.

The “Bird of Paradise” has a willowy stem structure. In the interior placement, the “branches” (technically petioles) tend to droop. In the exterior landscape model, Strelizia reginia remains upright and vigilant, needing only an occasional nitrogen fertilizer supplement for the ideal “V” shape.

Wind, coming from multiple directions with a variety of speeds, strengthens stem structure from all angles. The fibers and cellulose in the tissues of the long stems react to breezes with a growth habit constructed to keep its foliage during storms. Without gusts, Strelizia leaves are flaccid.

The stem structure of Strelizia needs controversy to be strong and resilient.

Unexpected gusts are beneficial once in a while. Humans also have the capability to bend with the wind and rebound from adversity. Winds strengthen our structural stability as well. Without the occasional tossing about, the human psyche could be weak during more serious torrents.

Unpredictability is perhaps the greatest psychological threat to humans. It seems that the modern-day Homo sapiens have lost genetic touch with the inevitability of change. One can surmise that Homo habilus and “Lucy” (H. australopithicus) were deeply entrenched in the absolute certainty of change on a daily (most likely hourly) basis. They had a much shorter life span than twenty-first century humans, yet grasped the concept.

Climate change will bring about the obsolescence of “normal.” This is certain. Unless Homo sapiens can join the strength from a lifetime of wind gusts with a conscious, intelligent, bipartisan action to affect political policy, Homo s. will face the consequences of a flaccid global action and a non-effectual result.

If the unpredictability of adversity, i.e. the change of the wind, is not embraced as the fertilizer of stability, there can be no strong structure to weather the change that is coming.

The “White Bird of Paradise” has the right idea.

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