Monday, April 27, 2009

Rosellas, Life & Epidemics

It's strange weather – mist, unusual in Wellington, alternating with heavy rain. The garden needed the rain, April has been a very dry month so far. It hasn’t deterred a fantail which has been squeaking around for much of the day. And a rosella pair are now coming daily to the neighbour’s crabapple tree to eat the ripening fruit. These Australian birds began appearing in the Wellington area in the 1960s – probably escaped cage birds. They are delightful to watch, such colourful parrots. Nature is amazing in its variety and shapes.

On this subject it continues to amaze me that the cells in my body constantly repair and renew themselves. The chemical components of them have been disassembled and re-synthesised day after day for over seventy years. According to what I’ve read there have been at least ten complete changes of every one of my individual cells – brain, heart and funny-bone. The miracle is that despite all these changes memory continues. The inter-action of it all is miraculous and the complexity is extraordinary. In my liver alone there are over 50,000 different enzymes working to keep my body functional. Part of the ageing process is sometimes the replacement is not a hundred per cent accurate. This is how and why, for example, the skin weakens. It is a fact of life – we can delay the process. We cannot stop it.

Meanwhile the media is making an understandable meal of the possibility of a swine flu panedemic. Such events are not new. As long as humans and animals co-exist the possibility is there as history proves. What is different is modern communication.

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