Friday, April 13, 2012

People are like Plants

People are like plants. They need water, nourishment, sunshine, and a certain amount of attention. The cells of people are made of the same stuff as plants -- carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron and copper ( I hope I got that right ) ...... I think plants need a few trace elements as well -- zinc, molybdenum..... Anyway, that's what my botany book says. It was published in 1963, and the author himself says further research might change the list of the essential cell-building elements. But it would still be safe to say that YOU are LIKE a TULIP in many respects.

The First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another............. Says who? What if the universe had a leak?

A Wet Spring in Southern California. We had a dry and mild winter, but it seems to be raining well enough this spring – even today, pouring down, where I am staying in the Santa Monica Mountains. The hills are bursting with green grass and the yellow of wild mustard. I saw rocks tumbling off the hill by the highway -- I hope it doesn’t slide.

Mudslides, Earthquakes, and Brush Fires. We have mudslides and earthquakes here, as you know, but the ones that people fear, the ones they talk about with dread, are the fires, the brush fires that can race faster than a car. Just yesterday, I was having coffee with Mike and he said why doesn’t the grounds crew clean up the pine needles that are heaped by the stream -- pine needles are good tinder and set ablaze by the smallest spark during the hot, dry months of late summer.

Bad Weather. Chicago had eighty degree temperatures in March and violent tornadoes sprung up all across the Midwest -- it was much too early in the season. Heat records were broken. Is it global warming? Or is it God’s vengeance? Or does it just happen sometimes?

I won’t settle that question here, but say that no matter what explanation makes sense to you, if we have extremes of weather, we need to be prepared and work together. We need to work with the people who don’t agree with. Tornadoes can kill Republicans and Democrats equally and they might come in unusual places and at unpredictable times. If you live in Oklahoma, you know the drill, but people in California haven’t got a clue.

But what if a tornado did spring up in California? Would you know what to do? Lots of people in California are prepared for an earthquake -- but perhaps a kind all-over preparedness might be better – and a determination to survive, along with a spiritual acceptance of events beyond our control.

I support the climate-change hypothesis, that human activity has become a major cause of it. That’s one of the reasons I am studying the botany text – so that I can make a serious inquiry into the works of climate scientists, because I will never say I “believe” in climate change. The word belief in this context is a casual but damaging mis-use of language.

I’m smart enough, and you are too -- to actually read some of this stuff, and follow the logic and test the scientific evidence -- I think we kind of have to do that -- because it’s not a matter of faith, it’s a matter of rational skepticism.

Or maybe it is the plagues of old Egypt come to visit us and punish the wicked -- either way, it’s best to keep a battery-operated radio on hand, plus some canned goods, and maybe five-gallons of drinking water.

And a couple of one-pounds cans of coffee. If I had a hot cup of coffee in the morning, I could face the Apocalypse.