Pine Nuts: How old is the sun?

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts
McAvoy Layne

In human years our sun is 38 years old, so in another five billion years it will run out of gas, and without any emotion to speak of, will accidently vaporize its old friend the Earth.

But do not despair. An insurance policy is on the way.

By then we will have figured out how to move to a new neighborhood — a new universe, for we are explorers.

But how in creation are we going to get from here to there … that is the problem facing us today. Our resources are not as boundless as we once thought. Come to find out, our air is not exactly what Mark Twain called, “… the air that angels breathe.” While our salt water rises and our fresh water recedes we look to the heavens, see lightning, and crawl under the covers.

… we, as inheritors of the planet, are responsible for its well-being, including that of the other animals, flora and fauna with whom we share our humble abode.

In an attempt to sustain my little stream of optimism, I went out and purchased a pair of high powered 7.0 reading glasses to examine our home closer up …

“Look at these ants! They’re industrious! I didn’t know spiders had eight eyes!”

When one looks closely at the ants and spiders of the Earth, there is no surrender to cynicism, only determination. Not unlike them, we just want to live in peace on this good Earth. And we, as inheritors of the planet, are responsible for its well-being, including that of the other animals, flora and fauna with whom we share our humble abode.

It’s going to take our underpaid and overworked educators to faithfully keep a pair of 7.0 reading glasses in the classroom to examine the local small fries and ask, “Who is in charge of taking care of these little guys today?”

Speaking of dedicated educators, I attended a celebration of our high school track coach’s life on Saturday. Coach Phillips was more than a track coach, he was General Grant with a stopwatch. Some men command respect by their very presence, Coach Phillips was one of those men. But more than that, he was a good husband, who adored his wife, Suzanne. They had three quarters of a century together, and together they wrote a great American love story.

As a young athlete, Don could have gone to the Olympics in the javelin toss, but chose to enlist in the Marine Corps instead, to serve with distinction in the earliest days of World War II.

I have to smile when I recall the only time I ever heard the coach swear. It was directed at me. It was on the first day of school in our freshman year at Miramonte. We were gathered out on the field for PE when I noticed a softball on the ground looking for somewhere to go. So I picked it up and threw it, hoping to land it in the back of Mr. Tibit’s pickup truck.

Mr. Tibits was our janitor, and he was driving across the field at the time.

I did land that softball in Mr. Tibit’s truck, not in the bed, but in the cab, and Mr. Tibit’s truck started swerving this way and that …

That was when I heard the coach swear, and he did it in such an artful and effective way that it made me determine to reform. There would be others, many others, who would determine to reform, thanks to Coach Phillips … a manifestly fine man.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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