Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It may seem silly and trivial, but please bear with me...

Did you know that humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour - about 1.5 pounds a year? It's true, and there are real-life scientists who actually conducted the study to gather these results. They further extrapolated that by 70 years of age, an average person will have lost or shed 105 pounds of skin. 105 POUNDS - that's almost the weight of another entire person!

I told you to bear with me, didn't I?

And did you know that the average mature oak tree sheds approximately 700,000 leaves in autumn? Yes, 700 THOUSAND leaves. Although it's not practical trivia, it is still quite amazing.

Still bearing with me?

I have been and remain attracted to the mystery and magic of Nature; its seasons, its lifespan, its death, its transformation, and its glory. Does it interest and fascinate you as well? It should, for in so many ways we reflect our ecosystem and our ecosystem reflects us; intertwined in the same cosmic process of growth and decline.

Did you know that deciduous trees (those that shed or lose foliage at end of a growing season) grow from the inside out? Just below the bark, within the cambium layer, a tree forms a new layer (its next seasonal growth ring) and continues to push out on the bark. The bark of a tree is pliable so that it can both protect the tree from disease while also allowing for the bark to crack and make room for the next growth ring.

Although we have no visible "growth rings" (other than our midlife spread at our waistline), we are also growing from the inside out. Just below the skin, forming a new layer and pushing on our outer layer; that layer that protects us from disease while allowing for that layer to make room for the next growth ring. See the symetry?

Some researchers believe that as life forms, we are more attuned to a life cycle that is seasonal, rather than calendar related. Much like the elm, we have seasonal patterns of growth and decline, of work and rest. And while, over an extended period of our life's time, it may look like we live a life of smooth transition from growth to decline, we are still bound by the seasonal forces that connect all plant life, animal life and human life. Trees gradually age but tend to show their greatest patterns of growth based on the seasons. And perhaps, we're not that much different, my friend.

Even those living in warmer climates tend to notice and observe a slower pace during the winter months. Green foliage and warmer temperatures tend to solicit a different reaction from us than cooler temperatures and fall colors. Light - and the amount we receive - has a tremendous impact on our mood. Coincidence? Maybe, but why fight it. Wherever you are right now, either in Missouri or Minnesota, you are most likely looking forward to the season of spring. Is it that you're tired of winter or is it that it's just the natural time to shed your winter skin for a new seasonal look?

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