Change of State
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Change of State • Posted: Jan 19, 2008 21:24:43Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

A pond can be a fascinating thing to watch over time. In summer warmth a remarkable number of creatures break its surface to feel its coolness and replenish moisture, some feeding, some breeding, some merely returning to a comfortable state of being.

Homeostasis is a term used to describe maintenance of a specific set of internal conditions such as blood pressure, temperature, body weight and chemical composition. Only living things do it. Non-living things do not. When you feel hungry, thirsty, tired, overheated, or anxious, you are feeling the internal cues of your body trying to motivate you to make a change in external conditions that will result in more comfortable internal conditions.

When the air temperature drops below freezing, the surface of a pond changes significantly. Water turns to ice rendering the surface largely impenetrable. Life goes on beneath and above, but the surface remains unbroken. It is a precarious time. Below the surface light is cut off, so respiring plants produce less oxygen, oxygen needed by fish. And above the surface, food of all sorts becomes scarce. The pace of life slows both above and below in an effort to maintain viable homeostasis.

While non-living water comfortably changes state with a wide swing in external temperature, living things struggle to maintain a comfortable status quo. Look into the faces of those around you. Can you perceive the struggle they are experiencing, understand the direction they are striving? It is the gift of empathy if you can. It is a gift that puts us all on a level plane.

Monday, December 25th, 2006