to space dust we shall return

3 04 2008

did you know the appalachian mountains used to be about 3 times as tall as they now are?  they’re the oldest mountains on our continental plate and have been weathered away at a rate of .003 inches per year for around 470 million years.  if every second was a year, it would have taken 16 years for them to weather this much.  and the glacial drifts wore them down some too.

man or astro-man, i love thinking about the world over vast distances of time.  i used to be nerve-wrackingly concerned that humans were ruining the planet and all of the good natural life that had come to be through a little design, a little luck, and a long while was all for naught, because we were here to erase it all.  at our present rate of commercial fishing, in 40 years we’ll have fished out the ocean (not that we would have caught everything, but we’d have completely destroyed links in the food chain which would unzip the bulk of ocean life).  i used to get so angry that humans were so pleased with themselves that they didn’t care much what havoc they wreaked on the other living (and unliving) citizens of the planet so long as they had a gross profit to brag about and a couple of extra cars in the driveway.  i used to fret constantly that everyone knows how destructive we’re being, is too greedy to say it out loud, and can quote the hell out of the “dominion over all other creatures” part of the bible whilst not being able to think of all 10 of those pesky commandments.  not that the commandments would save all the poor plants and animals in our crosshairs.

but when you start to think of what the earth’s already been through–at least 12 ice ages and 2 asteroid hits that have reduced the animal life back to virtually nil–you begin to realize that while it’s not begging us to give it our best shot, it’s also likely not too concerned about it.  i don’t mean to absolve us of responsibility for our actions or accountability to our co-dwellers, but in the end, our time is going to come, and things will eventually restabilize.

probably our short history, and our incredibly short industrial history, is nothing more than a zit on the inside of the nose of a teenage homecoming queen.  it annoys her, it even hurts a little, but in the grand scheme, everyone’s looking at her boobs anyway.  no wait–i meant, in the grand scheme, we’re a noisome, fleeting nuisance only.   that doesn’t really make it all that much more bearable to be stuck here with us.  but it helps.

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One response

12 05 2008
Mr. Allyson

It would be weird if someone looked inside your nose on your Prom Night. I mean – not that I’d know.

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