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  • Working on a farm you see the whole cycle of life. In the greenhouse, seeds grow into seedlings, and begin their time on Earth. In the field, seedlings grow into plants, reproduce, and grow old. Eventually they die, and the bodies of these old plants are composted and become the sustenance for their descendants. It is a beautiful sort of continuity. The atoms that made up a plant thousands of years ago become a plant today. And maybe that plant is eaten by a deer, which in turn dies and becomes pieces of countless other animals and plants. Life is not a circle. It is one infinite point, and we are all tiny moving parts.

    I read in the New York Times recently that every living thing has a set number "pulses" to live. Bigger plants and animals live longer because their "pulses" are slower, but the number is roughly 1 billion for all organisms. Humans, of course, have pushed back the inevitable (more than doubling this number), but we are an exception.

    Death is a hard thing to talk about.

    Somehow in growing up, everyone learns to talk about it in vague terms. Whatever our spiritual beliefs may be, we are taught that when we die, our time in this physical form is over. But if this body is just a piece of something bigger, like the cells that make it up, it never is. Everything is "reincarnated".

    At some point we also learn to find something to blame. No one dies of old age any more. They die of colds, pneumonia, strokes, and heart attacks in droves - but never from just being old. The plants at Bamboo Creek Farm were dying too. Some from the cold, but more because their time was up.

    Maybe the way we explain a death to a child is the most truthful way - "It was just their time to go."

    Their 1 billion heartbeats were up.
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