Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Spring, Mitochondria, & New Life

As I crawl out from under a bout of influenza A, which was made dangerous for me by my anti-rejection drugs, I contemplate genetics, and how my family has been seriously impacted by auto-immune disease. Somehow aspects of my environment triggered my immune system to go into overdrive and attack the biliary mitochondria in my liver as though attacking a foreign body. My transplant has not eliminated my body’s tendency to do this; it was not a cure. It has given me some more years if I am fortunate, and I struggle to understand what has happened to me and to adjust to my new chimeric life.

 

While spending day after day in bed recovering from the flu, I read Carl Zimmer’s book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, about the history of heredity and the impact of science upon our understanding of it. The book ended with the author pondering about gene editing of human eggs and embryos (CRISPR), which is currently in the global news as scientists struggle with the ethics and wisdom of using this powerful technology. My head is spinning with all this: I am creeped out by it, and can envision disaster resulting from gene editing, but had the gene(s) responsible for my immune system’s unwarranted attack  been successfully edited away, my transplant would have been unnecessary, and I would not have passed such genes on to my children and grandchildren. That is a heavy burden. If, if, if.

 

Although I learned about mitochondria in science class in high school, it was Madeleine L’Engle’s science/fictional account of Charles Wallace’s illness in A Wind in the Door that first reawakened my curiosity about mitochondria when my children were young. At that time I had no idea how important mitochondria would become in my life. However, it was not L’Engle’s forces of cosmic evil which messed with my mitochondria, but genetics and environment. My love of science fiction is accompanied by my life-long love of science. After all, my father taught genetics at the university level. <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_in_the_Door”>

 

Myth, science, science fiction, religion, folklore, myth….I love it all. It is about trying to understand our place in the cosmos and on Earth. In a confusing, fast-paced, and precarious world, Spring brings me hope. Spring = new life. Today is my donor’s 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Robb! I would not be here without your extremely generous and miraculous gift of part of your liver. I am grateful every day.
Gallery

April Snowstorm

April 4, 2016 - Winterberry Holly and Forsythia in side yard.

April 4, 2016 – Winterberry Holly and Forsythia in side yard.

“Perhaps what moves us in winter is some reminiscence of far off summer … The cold is merely superficial; it is summer still at the core, far, far within.”

– H. D. Thoreau

Our house.

April 4, 2016 – Our house.

 

April Snow, Main St

April 4, 2016 – Our Town.

 

Statue

April 4, 2016 – Cemetery Statue.

 

April 4, 2016 - Cemetery Pond.

April 4, 2016 – Cemetery Pond.

 

April 4, 2016 - Underbrush.

April 4, 2016 – Underbrush.

Photos by K. Houk and S. Rockmuller.

Clematis

By the door of the studio, clematis is producing many flowers after the rain. Today the sun was bright, and I could almost see the flowers opening before my eyes.

 

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The flowers look like a creature’s maw when they open.

Clematis opening

The centers are amazing!

Clematis center

 

Such beauty.

Clematis group

 

 

Variable Spring

First the snowdrops and a couple of crocuses appeared.

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Then more snow.

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Now the snow has melted, and the flowers have reemerged.

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And there are more to come.

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Happy St. David’s Day!

Daffodils, March 1, 2013

Daffodils, March 1, 2013

Daffodil Detail.3.1.13

Daffodil Closeup.3:1:13

Dydd gwyl Dewi Sant Hapus!

Porch Possum

Porch Possum

A possum decided to explore the cat’s den on the front porch.

Meanwhile, I’ve put together two more terrariums. Photos to follow if energy allows!

Spring Is Upon Us!

In February the snowdrops blossomed, and now the crocuses have joined them.

The bees, fuzzy with pollen, luxuriated in the blossoms.