Saturday, August 31, 2013

La strada / 天生我材必有用


   I participated in the bread-fruit tree festival held by TAI Herbarium of NTU two weeks ago. Some retired professors were invited to give introductory talks. One of them was probably so thrilled to be back in the limelight that he rambled on. His speech was so long that the host had no choice but to skip the last professor's talk. However, Dr. Li Xueyong didn't want to let go of the precious chance. Despite his hoarse voice, he mustered all his strength, speaking with so much energy and passion. He kept mentioning his discovery about the flowers of the mahogany tree, which aroused my curiosity. People used to believe that the flowers are bisexual, but according to Dr. Li's discovery, it's one of two flowers that "pretends" to be the female. (About this part of the explanation, I am still doing research about it, so  please bear with my really poor translation.) 


   One day when I was walking through the campus of NTU, I came across the big-leaf mahogany trees, and it prompted me to look for more information online. The seeds are spread by means of the wind dispersal. How the seeds come out of the fruit and how they travel far to start their new lives intrigue me, so these topics become the theme of my learning postcards for days. 


   My favorite part is about how the mother tree, in order to make the seeds grow into well-developed plants, send them on flights with the help of the wind because if they fall under the canopy of their mother, the seeds will die because of lack of sunlight or they'll be eaten by other creatures. The seeds are structured like helicopter rotors, which makes them spin and fly in the wind. 


   The writer of the webpage ends the introduction with really wise words: By studying the structure of the big-leaf mahogany tree, we can learn that every part of the plant serves a specific kind of function. Likewise, there's a purpose behind every design of the world, and I recall the life lesson I have learned again and again: Everyone has his or her life journey. I don't have to worry or play God, and often the answers I can't find are in the universe. 


   The new semester has started. I have revised my teaching concepts and methods. I know one day my small seeds will leave me. I shouldn't overprotect them. On the contrary, I should focus on how to make them fly better so that they'll go somewhere they dream of in the future.

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