Bur | East Wenatchee, WA | 2013

I found myself mesmerized yesterday by a veteran plumber who replaced our hot water tank. He had tools, knowledge and muscle memory to quickly detach pipes and wires — a dance of mastery — and reattach them to the newly installed tank. His skills were a good example of effective specialization, a concept that connects (sort of) to nature’s transportation specialist: the cocklebur. Through eons, its protective spikes have developed curled tips to hook onto passing creatures in order to (literally) spread its seed. (Yes, the bur is the inspiration for Velcro.) This distinctive feature is an encouragement, I think, to identify our special attributes — fixing old pipes, hooking onto fur — and use them to affect the world.