Cross sections of sediment or canyon walls – when read by experts – identifying and separating small distances in time into epochs.
Like tree rings, but longer measured slices. Natural history chapters.
Most not caused by anything human.
We know these things in general.
We are intelligent. We paid some attention in class. Or we’ve seen a deep river valley canyon where erosion demonstrates this. Intuitively, we get it.
Do we get it going forward?
At this point – man (homo sapiens) as we know ourselves – has been a species distinct from predecessors for 100,000 to 200,000 years.
Emerging from Africa’s Great Rift Valley we are everywhere on Earth, soon colonizing nearby planets.
Our rearview mirror – 100,000+ years of progress, survival and learning.
Our today, what we saw this morning in our bathroom.
A little older, but an imperceptible distance.
You’ve come such a long way.
Or a very short distance?
Most learning and progress – our last 1,000 years, the largest portions emerging in our last 100 years.
Think forward 10,000 years, or imagine 100,000 years.
Can we imagine an ice age, relocated earth-plates or a changed atmosphere?
Most us have trouble working out next month’s schedule or deciding who we will vote for in four months.
So many things which are really short term (under 100 years) gain so much of intelligent man’s (women too) attention.
Further out, gets so little.
Maybe, because our lives are so short, we don’t believe our individual, group or societal behaviours impact survival of our species. Our planet will surely change (ice ages, volcanoes, weather, tides, fire, rivers, earthquakes seem to be timeless forces).
Will humans change?
When I visit the Majorville medicine wheel I imagine people who lived there 4,000- 10,000 years ago, wondering how they lived but also pondering how unfathomable it would have been for them to imagine life today. How could we explain those early self-appointed stewards/users/tenants of this land to grasp what seven billion people have done to it.
This world of our great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren – isn’t science fiction fantasy, it is as near as tomorrow …
Where am I going with this thought train?
Examining my life – making it more productive and effective – I have to wonder how long it will take us to become breathers of air composed of different elements, how long it will take us to return to natural foods (and figure out how to grow enough of it) so we can return to our survival driven evolutionary path.
There is more to maturing and getting older than singing ‘habbby birffday to you’ to friends.
Many I expect are saying, perhaps with great scientific justification, that we can do nothing about it – things will just happen as they do over many millennia, with humans being just one of many species along for the ride – that some will survive and others will die-off.
But what if we can make the difference that ensures survival?
I would like my great great great grandchildren to be able to sing ‘habbby birffday to you’ to their friends.
Each time I see an endangered species lists, I wonder why humans aren’t on it.
P.S.: to CB .. habbby birffday to you, habbby birffday to you … and many more!
column written/ published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 5C/41F, chilly, clear and dead calm (flags hugging their poles) – my jogging shoes got a light-jog workout and my sore foot survived (yay!) so I’m feeling pretty good. Gusta was thrilled by the faster pace …