or From Microcosm to Nanocosm
In Horton Hears a Who, the 1954 children's book by Dr. Seuss, Horton the elephant hears a cry for help coming from a speck of dust. It's made by a Who, one of the many Whos in Whoville, a tiny city on the tiny bit of fluff that is in danger of drifting into the cool of the pool in the jungle of Nool. Horton saves it and, after many difficulties, he and the Whos convince the harder-of-hearing animals in the jungle that the Whos really do exist. At long last, the other animals agree to help protect the tiny world. It sticks in my mind (though I may be mistaken) that the 1970 TV special ends with a Who, on its just-rescued dust mote planet, hearing a cry for help from an even tinier atom of a world, starting the process all over again.
Here I've just been learning to recognize the microclimates in the garden—to trace the patterns of light and wind and cold from one square foot to the next—and along come the nanoclimates, clamoring for attention, showing that the conditions from one millimeter to the next on a leaf can be just as varied. I wonder, if we were to descend one level of awareness further, whether we would find that each micrometer has its own set of climatic conditions, too. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Sometimes, the smaller a world gets, the larger it gets. Those delicate patterns of ice were so precise and so intriguing (not to mention beautiful) that I found myself (in a mild sort of way) researching frost, nanoclimates, broadleafed evergreens, botanical protections against climatic conditions, and several interesting dead ends and charming byways en route. I've never done that for mere "leaves"... Sometimes, when a world becomes small, it can expand exponentially.
Does anyone hear a Who?