“Laws of Nature”
“There are laws of nature,” says Hal Borland in This Hill, This Valley, “that I doubt we shall ever understand. Take such a simple matter as the twining of vines that climb by twisting their limber stems around a stronger support, even as our pole beans climb the poles we set for them. In this Northern Hemisphere they twist, with few exceptions, counterclockwise. Why is this so? . . . Cyclonic storms, such as hurricanes, move in the same direction as they come whirling up the coast from Florida and the Caribbean. And water whirlpooling down the kitchen sink or through an outlet at the bottom of a dam usually makes the same counterclockwise motion.
“It is all very well to say that it is a result of the turning of the earth, and to find other parallels; and it even lends a kind of reasonable air to say that in the Southern Hemisphere the twist is usually in the opposite direction. These are facts, not ultimate answers. That is the way things happen, not why they happen. Is a wild morning-glory aware of the turning of the earth? Is a pole bean so endowed with this knowledge that I cannot force it to twist the other way? Is such knowledge embedded in the seed itself? Winds I can understand, and their inevitable direction. Vines are something else. Vines are living things, not air forced this way or that by outside forces. No, there is some law beyond, some way of life, some necessity in nature that I can recognize but not wholly understand.”