About the blog

This blog is more than five years old now. The About the blog introduction has been overdue for revision.

Life has been present on earth for about three billion eight hundred million (3,800,000,000) years. These brief posts discuss bits of that history, ones that I find fascinating and satisfying to learn about. They include the single-celled organisms that evolved slowly over two billion years before life grew larger; trees and other plants that stay alive in ways more alien and more familiar than we expect; approaching or avoiding, the primary decisions all organisms make, and how they play out in species including our own; how our bodies, including our brains, work.

Such subjects bring the ingenuity of living things up closer than I have known them and they speak to me about life’s biggest issues. The eons over which living things have persisted, linked through chains of DNA, ease my fear of death. The trees and plants thriving around me gladden me with their calm, slow-motion purposefulness. Cooperation and competition, team-work and battle—the engines of our social and moral lives—perplex me less knowing how embedded they are in other organisms. And glimpsing the workings of the mind helps me untangle my consciousness from my self-consciousness from my self.

Since I’m not a scientist, I come to this biology like someone who is seeing the ocean for the first time. The vista is more intricate and greater than I imagined, and I am smaller and fuller in its presence.