Nature

Magic Moments – The Spell of Nature

Synopsis

Whether it’s night or day, the northern or southern hemisphere, irrespective of the season or the precise location – our planet’s natural world produces truly magical moments all year round.

The first rays of the rising sun wake animals and plants from their rest. In spring, the last of the snow melts away, and the first buds and blossoms emerge. Before long, a clutch of miniscule blue eggs appears on a leaf. The metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and further to butterfly is one of the greatest mysteries of evolution.

The fairy-tale lichen-covered coastal forests of British Columbia are home to mythical “ghost bears”. In fact, these bears are a subspecies of the American black bear, but nature has seen fit to provide some of the so-called Kermode bears with lighter fur. The “spirit bears” play a significant role in the culture of the local indigenous people – and yet, one clumsy young “ghost bear” seems hardly able to live up to its otherworldly reputation…

During the summer, swimming is a popular pastime, particularly for some fairly unusual marine mammals: the pigs that frolic in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas to cool off. These feral pigs were once domesticated animals that found their way to freedom. They adapted to life in the wild, reproduced – and developed the skills that continue to amaze visitors at “Pig Beach”.

When darkness falls at the end of the day, it gives way to the starry night sky. In Sri Lanka, the light of the full moon awakens a particular species of cactus. This cactus rarely blossoms, and only ever in spring or summer. In fact, it is one of the very few plant species in the world to only blossom at night. And moreover, as soon as dawn breaks, the blossoms wither and fade.

Unlike in the temperate zones, the climatic changes in the tropics during the course of the year are marked by rainy seasons and dry periods. This is the case in Namibia, in south-western Africa, where the world’s largest flightless birds, the ostriches, have to time the laying of their eggs to ensure that the chicks will hatch at the beginning of the rains. The emergence of the young birds from the thick shells is a cause for celebration. Before long, the young ostriches explore their surroundings with their father, learning how to eat stones and take baths in the sand.

It is hardly surprising that humans remain so fascinated by the wonders that surround us. After all, we are an integral part of the spell of nature, and our lives are inseparable from the world’s many different natural spectacles, breath-taking occurrences, and unforgettable ‘Magic Moments’.