Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff — complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?

Pack Creek Ranch, San Juan County, Utah.
The second week of February, 2017
Clear and calm and cold weather – winter continues . . .
However . . . the first pussy-willows are budding along the creek.


In my neighborhood, living things are showing signs of the awakening of life that comes with oncoming Spring. I am the daily inspector of this vitality. Here’s my report: Fuzzy buds are forming on the pussy-willows along the drainage ditch across the road. The elderly apricot trees are showing swelling green-ness at the tips of their branches. The desert sage plants have new growth that’s pungent when pinched. The Great Horned owls are calling out to candidates for mating.
The urge to surge forth is clearly at work.

The world around me seems restless and squirmy. The whole Universe is still expanding, so say the astronomers. The landmass under my feet is moving west at the rate of half an inch a year. The sea floor is still spreading. Nothing is holding still – every atom in existence is whirling away in relentless motion.
Maximum squirminess.
I feel like I should have my seat belt on at all times – but where would I attach it?

Even I am squirmy – still growing. Not budding or blooming, but still steadily expanding, however slowly. This came to mind when I was “doing” my fingernails this past week. About every three weeks this job must be done – and it is a small sign that I am still alive.

Factoids from research:
Most people’s fingernails grow at an average rate of 3 mm or 0.12 inches a month.
The nail of the index finger grows faster than that of the little finger.
Nails grow faster in summer, faster in males, faster in non-smokers, and faster in pregnancy. Furthermore, fingernails grow up to four times faster than toenails.
Nails do not continue growing after death – that’s a myth.

Hair growth is another sign of life.
The rate of the its speed is about 1.25 cm or 0.5 inches per month. That’s an eighth of an inch a week. That’s an average – because growth varies depending on sex, race, age, and the disposition of your genes, and the location of the hair on your body – head, face, under arms, etc – even eyelashes and ears and nose.
If your hair continues to grow, you are alive.
Seems to be true for me.

Even more important, every cell in your body goes through stages of growth, death, and replacement – depending on where the cell is in your body.
Generally speaking, all the cells in your body are replaced in a seven year period.
Which means that I am not the same identical person I was in 2010.
As long as this growth keeps taking place, I am alive.
So far, so good.

In my imagination I wonder what we would look like if we were wired up the same way as a plants. Budding in the Spring, flowering in Summer, hair turning red and orange in Fall, and then falling out only to come back green after Winter.. . . .

?Where on our bodies would this take place and what would we look like and how would our clothing accommodate these seasonal changes? If we had tails, most of the changes should take place as stern plumage.
You, too, can imagine . . .

But I digress.

The reasonable, realistic questions are more poetic – metaphorical – existential.
?Am I still greening and growing and budding and blossoming in my mind –
adding new thoughts and ideas and experiences – twining upward like a vine seeking the light?
I hope so.
?As the chief gardener of myself am I turning the sod of complacency, putting in
seeds of new ideas, cutting back the dead wood in my thinking?
I intend that.
?Will I, too, bloom and bear fruit this year?
May it be so.
My mantra now is FLOURISH!