Amidst the chaos and the entropy, sunlight streams in and helps us put things back together.
We're pretty good at this as populations, much better than as individuals, all of whom share the same fate. Life goes on, but we do not.
The sparrows and the squirrels do their squirrel and sparrow business just as they did when I watched them so any decades ago, but they are not the same sparrows, not the same squirrels.
If I teach a child about squirrels, should she be interested in them, and I fill her up with all kinds of squirrel trivia, she knows some facts about a common rodent, but she has not learned a lick of biology.
If I tell her to go find a squirrel on the Bloomfield Green, and watch it for the duration of its life, she will learn a little bit about squirrels (in general) but know a whole lot about the business of being a mammal in the wild, during which it will grow, probably reproduce, and certainly die. She will never see squirrels the same way.
But I didn't do that.
As the year slips to its end, and another few classes of biology students wander out my classroom door for good, I realize I have failed again to teach biology.
And I become just another teacher, always there in the classroom, as interchangeable and immortal as the generic squirrels flitting in and out of a child's life.
I'm going to plant more seeds this weekend.