The secret lives of blueberries
A walk seaside with my 18-year-old daughter, yesterday…
Daughter: Do you know there are microbes that get inside ants in the rainforest and slowly take over their brains and tell them what to do? The microbes tell them to climb up to the top of trees, then their heads split open and spores sprout out of their heads and blow away.
Mother, making hand coming out of chest motion: That’s like ‘Alien.’
Daughter: I hope those ant spores don’t evolve and colonize us too.
Mother: Then we would have to climb to the tops of buildings, scaling the walls like Spiderman. Or I guess we could just take the elevator. Or maybe they’re already in us and that’s why we build really tall buildings.
Daughter: Did you see ‘Men in Black’ when the guy’s head opens up and you can see the little alien at the controls?
Mother: I vaguely remember that. Aren’t we made of mostly cells other than our own?
Daughter: Yeah. But what’s weird to me is that none of my cells lives longer than seven years. So there is no cell in me that’s the same as when I was little.
Mother: I don’t think of my cells as me. My self is somewhere else, not in the pieces. Like if I scrape my arm and bits of skin come off it’s not me I’m losing. I guess there’s DNA. My cells keep dying, and the DNA keeps giving the recipe to make new ones. And sometimes there’s a mistake or mutation and then maybe I die of cancer in 30 or 40 years.
Daughter: That’s cheerful.
Mother, pointing at the water: Hey look, baby ducks!
Daughter: Omigod, they’re so cute!!