Desert Journeys 24/3/17

Desert Journeys 18

March 24th 2017

I am dust, and to dust I shall return.

I’m no scientist, but I have a gut feeling there is some truth in this. My recent learnings in the gastronomic world have lead me towards exploring the role of bacteria in our physical well-being. Some say that we are merely vehicles for these organisms. There are 100 trillion bacteria in the average human gut, 10 times the number of cells in the whole body. I have recently been adding a sachet of 650,000,000,000 bacteria on my porridge as an experiment to check the side-effects before encouraging my post-operative mother to do the same. The antibiotics she took for 3 months will have wiped out her natural gut flora, and as probiotics are all the rage, someone recommended she take a massive daily dose of microorganisms. If you think Streptococcus Thermophilus, Bifidobacterium Breve and Lactobacillus Plantarum sound like characters from Star Trek, you are not alone. They are just a few of the many types of bacteria I’ve been ingesting daily. Not exactly a Lenten diet.

Diet fascinates me, and the relationship between life and food, bacteria, dust and even death. The bacteria that cause decay in dead plants and animals promote health in us. We are surrounded by fine particles of matter in the air: bacteria, spores, minerals, metals. Every breath is a wave of a million minute particles. There are more microbes in a teaspoon of soil than there are people on the planet. The humble carrot absorbs nutrients from the earth that we then consume. Therefore we should value the farmer who cares for this earth. In His tilth are our seeds planted and we, too, were blown here from elsewhere. This cycle has probably been going on since the Cretaceous era, yet every day something new is revealed. How new can it be? There is nothing new under the sun. It is the earth recycling its dust into life ad infinitum.

If I am dust, I am life.

Jake Kemp


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