Why “Migrations”

mi·gra·tion (mī-grā’shən), n.

  1. The movement or passage of a cell or cells, through surrounding tissues, in a physiological or pathological process (as in inflammation and the immune response, development and organogenesis, wound healing, angiogenesis, and tumor metastasis)
  2. The periodic passage of groups of animals (e.g. birds or whales) from one region to another for feeding or breeding, often depending upon seasonal change
  3. Geographical or regional movement of individuals or groups, for a number of reasons and patterns (personal and professional)
  4. Steady maturation of thought towards a more advanced theoretical framework; a paradigm shift; a work in progress

The title “Migrations” sprung from a convergence of interests – I was becoming interested in birdwatching, and I was studying mammalian cell migration in my graduate studies. Add to that my wife’s academic interest in factors impacting whale migrations and my own eventual expatriation to Europe, and “Migrations” was the clear choice for a title.

Migration. Isn’t that what it’s all about? We’re all, by the standard definition of the word, migrating, moving from place to place, hither and yon. Atoms migrate within molecules. Teeth migrate within mouths (though we’d rather they didn’t). But of most importance, particularly to those of us attuned to the rhythms of the natural world, are those glorious migrations of huge numbers of living creatures across the globe. And as impressive as marathon movements of humpback whales and European eels are, the migrations that really capture our collective attention are those of birds. We’re in the midst of an enormous one right now. Those of us north of the Equator are watching our boreal breeders withdraw to warmer climes while the bottom half of the world is just welcoming its austral avifauna. Migrations speak to us, not just as observers of nature but as integral parts of it. The world moves and, deep inside, we long to move with it.

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