Nature pyramid!

Via The Art of Manliness I found this great graphic of a nature pyramid (à la the food pyramid) at the Nature Kids Institute. It’s aimed at kids, but really the prescription for adults should be exactly the same.

It’s tougher in the winter, of course—when the grass is snow-covered and the paths are icy, they simply aren’t so runable or walkable. But that’s okay. It’s still worth getting outside.

It’s also tougher in Illinois to find wilderness than in most other places I’ve lived. There was real wilderness in Michigan and Indiana and Florida (although when I lived in Florida I did a pretty poor job of spending time in it), and of course vast amounts of real wilderness in Utah and California. Still, there are places in Champaign county where I can at least get out of sight and out of earshot of roads, even if it isn’t really free of human influence.

Anyway, these quantities seem like good initial target minimums for time in nature. Maybe not optimal, but adequate, and probably a lot better than most people manage.

Nobody knows what cream is any more

Jackie started noticing some years ago that waiters seemed not to understand that cream is an actual, specific thing. Waiters would offer her cream for her coffee, and then bring some industrial concoction of water, corn syrup, tropical oils, and mono- and di- glycerides (sometimes including some milk solids).

She learned to ask for milk instead, because even waiters seem to understand that milk is an actual, specific thing.

This week, for the first time, we observed the reverse. The waiter offered to bring “creamer,” so Jackie said she’d drink her coffee black. I’m new enough to drinking coffee that I’ve never had creamer, so I figured I’d give it a try and said, “Sure, bring some creamer.”

The waiter brought actual cream.

I can see restaurant owners urging waiters to offer cream when what they’re bringing is some much cheaper substitute, the same way they tell waiters to claim that the vegetables are fresh when they’re actually frozen. But no one would think it made sense to offer some cheap substitute and then bring the real thing.

The only explanation I can think of is that people these days don’t know what cream is. And I guess that makes sense. When my parents were kids, people still got unhomogenized milk, where the cream would literally rise to the top, so they knew it was an actual, specific thing. But we’re now two generations removed from that. Plenty of time for people to forget what cream is.