My Cousin the…Kohlrabi?

“We are all stardust.”  ~ Lawrence Krauss

My chemist/engineer husband always tells me we are all quarks, electrons and nutrinos.  I typically respond with the ever-thoughtful, “Yes, dear,” as I stumble to find my laptop and a cup of coffee.  Sometimes I wonder if he’s just making this stuff up.  He’s degree’d, licensed, experienced, in general a well-read guy…none of which helps to nurture my SAH mom status.

Mensan’s are smart and get to do fun stuff like have math game parties, work to come up with a clever group association for Mensans — a gaggle of geese, a murder of crows, a [blank] of Mensans? — or get invited to go on goat-milking field trips.   (You know, I must admit, that was pretty fun.)

In my inbox are notes from the PTA Board, new blog posts I haven’t taken time to read yet, new items to add to the big fundraiser to-do list coming up in just a few weeks.  That’s the only “dirt” my life has settled into these days.

Aside from the occasional sweeping of the bird seed and pecan husks off the back porch every morning — not to mention the small tiled real estate underneath where my children have just had their breakfast or dinner — my life has settled into mundane.  There’s gotta be more to life than sweeping floors, Cinderella.

As if I was screaming for something to challenge my brain (not), this nugget appeared on the whiteboard overnight.  I rubbed my 5:00a un-caffeinated eyes and I wondered just which one of my kids had just gotten an organic chemistry lesson from Dad.

Chlorphyll vs. Heme
Chlorphyll vs. Heme. Notice the similarity?

No, he said.  This one was entirely for me.   He felt I needed to see this.

Scott knows that I’ve always felt a special connection to plants and animals, one more than the simple human-and-ape DNA exchange that’s in the textbooks.  A deep connection, making me happy among the flowers and the trees, the birds and the bees, a connection that resulted in my removing myself and family from the societal and systematic slaughter of fellow earthlings (whom I feel are more like me than not).

And just why is it that the revelation stops at the human relationship with apes?  What about whales, or snakes, or the platypus?  Is it because we must look alike in order to consider who makes the cousin list?  Why the fervor between the Creationist Right and the Evolutionary Left?  Does it really matter whether we came from the Hand of God or from some slime mold that came from the depths of a volcanic sludge pool?  The undisputed fact is that we are all made of the same stuff:  organic matter, star dust.  We are all of the stars and we share real estate on this rather small ship.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

That drawing is what I needed.  Our lifeblood — plant’s chlorophyll and human’s heme — is similar, save the element at the center and the “lettuce,” as Scott likes to call it, around the edges.  Scott wasn’t just pulling my leg.  We really are made of the same fundamental building blocks of life.

Plankton:  "Duhshtroy this a that!"
Plankton: “Duhshtroy this a that!”

It doesn’t help that he put the drawing right underneath SpongeBob and his friends (drawn by Angie a couple of Christmas’ ago).  This morning when I pull another kohlrabi to eat, I will be wondering, What does this plant think about losing its life to sustain mine? but then I remember the plain-and-simple truth:  plants don’t think, they just do.   

And what plants do, they do very well.   They are factories that convert sunlight into energy, the original tenants of Earth, sustaining nearly every other living thing in some way.  They don’t “pollute” (okay, they pollute with oxygen, but how is that bad?), they keep the water cycle going, they provide energy for all the insects, birds, mammals, fish — they rule this planet, right up there with water, air, and sunshine. They don’t need us, but we certainly need them.

Oh boy.  My Ancestry Tree just got a whole lot bigger.

Have you ever learned something that just blew your mind?

17 thoughts on “My Cousin the…Kohlrabi?

  1. I thought of you this weekend. I watched Vegucated on Netflix. The documentary about veganism? If you haven’t seen it (I’m certain you have!), you must, but you’re really just the choir in this scenario. Very compelling.

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    1. I love it that people think of me when they see something vegan! My indoctrination is working. Muahahahaha…

      Scott saw it first and came to me with a, “Well, I guess you can’t do THIS now, ’cause some other blogger has already been there and done that.” You know, that should have been me. I watched the whole thing with a smile on my face. I’ve recommended it to “fence sitters” I’ve met.

      There’s some great (eye-opening) programming on Netflix that would not be seen otherwise by many people.

      “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

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  2. What a great post, Shannon. And I am not just saying that. Tt brings to mind my own philosophies and thoughts about this world and other worlds far, far beyond. Well written, even though I can’t begin to read Scott’s ‘formula’.

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    1. Don’t feel alone, Bob. Sometimes what I find on the whiteboard in the early hours of the morning astounds me. Not his chemistry molecules (like those) mind you, because I recognize it from my college chemistry. It’s the higher maths when he’s draws stuff in the spherical polar coordinate system that makes me hyperventilate. You know, like my days of point charges in electromagnetism classes (the first go ’round, not the second, when I aced it).

      You’re pretty special to me too, Bob! I look forward to discussing some of these “philosophies” with you and Ann on my swing one day.

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