Friday, May 13, 2011
13 Billion years and all we got was all this stardust.
This isn't going to make sense till you read about half way through. Allow me to set the scene:
I am sitting outside, in the sun, on a blanket, in my own seemingly pastoral backyard. Chicken watching. And working on existential thoughts. I wonder if these chicks ever remember me or just think of me as every other human that walks through these grasses. They come running when I walk out there every day, thinking I have food…yet run from me if I extend my hand just the tiniest bit to touch their soft and god-painted feathers. My rabbit, Dexter, seems the same. He wants to lick my fingers but won’t let me pet his nose and runs when I try to feel his soft little belly. He squirms and kicks when I pick him up, then settles in my arms, bobbing his little bunny nose and patiently allowing me to caress his soft, soft fur.
It’s a beautiful day. Blue skies and sunshine. I am sick with a cold. Something within me urged me to soak up some Vitamin D. It feels good on my shoulders and back, yet I am aware I may burn for it.
Chickens meandering. Grasses growing. The garden plants reaching forth from their tiny, underground seed shells to praise that same sun that gives all creatures and things life on this planet.
The dog next door licks his lips and patiently sits, watching Dexter in his little cage under the plum tree. Poor Dexter. He puts his ears back and freezes, hoping to go unnoticed in the thicket of untamed clumps of grass around him.
Bunnies are so innocent and frightened of nearly everything. Dexter has no idea where his water comes from or that I’ve even named him Dexter. He just knows he doesn’t like to be picked up, that the dog next door is dangerous and wishes for more grass to nibble on all day long.
The chickens parade around his cage at moments, bobbing and waddling around, trying to figure a way in, sticking their little beaks in the metal squares. They are not smart enough to realize they can actually fly in. It’s charming to watch them and their silly ideas. They stop at moments to stare at me. What they must think. Am I predator or great feeder?
We are animals ourselves, though we don’t like to believe that. We have our own silly ways of explaining things. Our own cautious curiosities about what we don’t understand. Here we are, human in our present state on this planet, showing up around 150,000 years ago as modern humans. Homo Sapien Sapien, beating out a hundred other pre-human prototypes.
It took us forever to get here in our present state. The Universe, our universe, being approximately 13 billion years old. Our planet, what 4.5 billion? And then we show up, believing ourselves to be the crowning achievement. Where are we headed and what will we become? Our sun will die out 30 billion years from now. 30 BILLION years. That’s a long, long time and we are but a blip.
Some believe we will evolve as a planet into a greater state of consciousness. Others believe in the magical Millennium, that we are on our own path to becoming, evolving into gods. Is this how it is? I don’t really know what I think of that. It could be. Or we could just be some near impossible thing that showed up with the capacity to think about who we are and make up stories that we want to believe in.
We are, however, an unexplained phenomenon. We, these thinking creatures, animals, that are mathematically next to impossible to be here in creation. Look at the many prototypes before us and who have died out and here we are, weak and without any sort of armor or claws or physical strengths. And yet, we weak creatures that we are, built pyramids and boats and planes and rockets. We are a unique and almost impossible combination of billions of years of the same atomic particles that blew out across the vastness of space 13 billion years ago. We are a part of the Earth and the grasses that grow and the animals and the air and the stars themselves. We literally are the universe. We are the same thing as everything else we see. Insignificant and yet, so significant as to be able to ponder what we are, having no real clue as to why we are or what we shall, in those next 30 billion years, become.
And I think about this as I watch my little animals and my yard and the trees and the birds and the humming bees and insects crawling through the grass that have no idea about any of this. They are simply in a search for food. For survival. In a sense that is what we do, too. Our purpose is to survive. We have stories about how to survive, even beyond our own death, our own creation. We want it, we yearn for it, to be more. The human mind is our blessing, our only weapon and quite possibly the means of our destruction, the destruction of everything and everyone. Or so some believe.
We have so much time to evolve, to regroup, to grow up and become something more. 30 billion years in time. And yet at the end of those 30 billion years, what then? Is that the end? And if so, what is the meaning of it? Is there any meaning in it? Why are we? And how did we, out of all the other pre-historic human prototypes, survive? Will we evolve into something more? Or will we, as children of the sun in our very core, in the very atoms of our flesh, burn out with our sun and the billion trillion stars that have existed before we even knew what we were?
It doesn’t seem to matter to the other animals. Or to many humans. It never even crosses their mind. Yet, I, strange creature that I am, sit here, burning in the very sun that gave me the means to live, to be what I am in this existence, a modern human being, and it is an important thought I will possibly never have an answer to.
Is this it or is there something more?