Fleeting spring things

I learned that metabolism comes from the Greek word for change. Things must transform constantly in order to stay alive, which means “remain.”

Here are some fleeting spring things whirled up from the cellular flow we are.

Tiny, and perfect.

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Stages of poppy

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Below are nodules of nitrogen-fixing bacteria on the roots of a lupine I dug up. The bacteria convert nitrogen in the air into a form the plant can use to make cells; in return the bacteria get sugars the plant converts from sun energy the bacteria can’t access. Tight, right? People get nitrogen from plants to feed their cells

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About half the nitrogen in the human body comes from factories. Farmers put the nitrogen on their fields to make plants grow big and fast, then we eat it. But a lot — maybe most — of the nitrogen farmers use never gets into crops. It runs off and wreaks havoc on water systems — consider the Jersey-sized dead zone that sometimes blooms out of the mouth of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. Very ugly.

Some people have started to notice that humans have messed up nitrogen flows the way we have carbon flows — the other “inconvenient truth.” Here’s an urgent-feeling video about it with some doomsday guitar chords. And here’s a lupine about to bloom.

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