Mere morals: A tidbit

Old Tjikko is the world’s oldest clonal Norway Spruce (Picea abies) with a root system about 9 550 years old. It is located close to the Norwegian border, but in Sweden, on Fulufjället Mountain, in Dalarna province in Sweden. Photo: Lief Kullman, the physical geographer who discovered the tree and named it after his late dog.

Except for a few trees that have existed for a millennium or more, hydrazoans that can regress to a larval state and regrow into adults multiple times, and single-celled organisms that replicate through cell division, most living organisms are young. Some live days or weeks, others a single year, still others decades, and a few a century or more.

My mother celebrated her 103rd birthday this past week, but what I notice is her lack of friends, something she has commented on since before she was 90. They have all died off. The last one lived to 102.

Reflecting on this I have decided that it makes most sense to seek out friendships with younger, rather than older, people. If people were 30 years younger, then when I reach 90, they will still be a youthful 60 (or less). Hopefully, most of them will still be alive.

This means that I am prioritizing friendships with people who are born in 1975 or later. Yet, I do not intend to be fanatical. If I find someone interesting born in, say 1947, or earlier, I will also offer them friendship.

For various reasons, some people choose to have pets (companion animals). Are these creatures substitutes for friends? In many cases it appears so. I feel absolutely no need to complicate my life co-habitating with a cat or dog or even a Guinea pig, and especially not a younger woman.

Data: The world’s oldest individual from a clonal tree is Old Tjikko, about 9 550-year-old. This Norway spruce located the in Fulufjället Mountains in Sweden, according to Leif Kullman, Umeå University. Old Tjikko is suspected to be the only living trunk of an ancient clonal colony.

The tree’s age was revealed by carbon-14 dating its root system. Four generations of spruce remains were found at the site, all with the same genetics. Spruce trees can multiply by cloning, so while the individual trunk is younger, the organism has existed for at least 9 550 years. There is a cluster of about 20 spruce trees in these Swedish mountains estimated to be over 8 000 years old.

The oldest known living animal is a nematode, recovered in 2015 near the Alazeya River, in Siberia, Russia, and revived. It was dated at approximately 41 700 years old – making it more than four times older than Old Tjikko.

Note: This post differs from some other tidbits. It was written 2019-10-30.

A tidbit is can be defined as: 1: a choice morsel of food. This usage dates from about 1640; 2: a choice or pleasing bit (as of information). In this weblog, most tidbits will refer to shorter draft posts, that have been awaiting editing and expansion for at least six (6) months. Today, I am flaunting these rules, and exposing myself once again as a rebel.

One Reply to “Mere morals: A tidbit”

  1. My Mom, Wilma, is 91years old. I am amazed how diverse in age her friends are and how many she has! She makes cookies for the neighborhood Junior High kids and meets them at the bus stop to hand them out. Others in her neighborhood have complained of teens vandalizing…but Mom is never bothered. She occasionally takes children’s books to the toddlers down the street and they wave and yell with enthusiasm each time they see her. She goes to the YMCA 3 times a week to work out on machines and is friends with all the former and current high school athletes in town. She irons clothes for a mother with triplets and their whole family think she is their personal angel that they never forget for holidays and their family occasions. She serves weekly at a soup kitchen in town with friends from another denomination than hers so she has those church friends and those soup kitchen friends. She makes hats at her church for underprivileged kids. She makes and serves food at every funeral that church has and she has buried most of her friends. When my sister had cancer, Mom made cinnamon rolls and passed them out to all my sisters doctors and nurses. She has made baby quilts for all the grandchildren, and great grandchildren and many of their friends. The list of her service and participation at all levels of community life is exhausting to even try to record it. Each morning she checks a service to see if anyone needs transportation to a hospital visit or just to pick up groceries and she usually can find a way to pick them up and take them where they need to go. Each person she touches stays in touch with her and her smart phone never stops buzzing with texts, facebook messages and phone calls. She does all this with a quiet, humble spirit, never drawing attention to what she does. We should all be like Wilma and growing old will never be lonely.

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