Mother Nature as a record keeper

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By Kirsten Peters

As a record-keeper, I’m pathetic. I often can’t keep track of where my checkbook is, let alone the balance in the account. The chief problem determining the balance isn’t my arithmetic skills, it’s that I don’t enter all the checks that I write for merchants in the ledger. No wonder the amount I show I have becomes a tad different from what the bank feels I have in my account.

As I say, I’m not a good record-keeper.  

So I marvel at people who can keep highly ordered tax papers, favorite family recipes, instructions on how to run their appliances, notes on when they last had the furnace serviced, etc.

But in some ways Mother Nature keeps better records than we ever shall, at least when she wishes to. And she keeps them, potentially, for billions —  literally billions —  of years.

I’ll explain this feat by way of my favorite seasonal analogy: food.

Consider the last time you bellied up to a long and varied brunch buffet. I recently did this at church. (I may miss midnight services, but never brunch buffets.) You may have done it at a commercial establishment of the all-you-can-eat variety. In any such place, if you are lucky, you had an egg-and-bread based entry called strata.

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