One of the core thoughts that has been plaguing me for several days now is this: from single cell organism, all the way to my parents, is an unbroken biological success story. All that lovin’ and fightin’. It’s hard for me to take in this concept, but I like it more and more. By all counts, my family tree made me, and to do that, they had to be scrappy enough to live long enough to mate, savvy enough to stay alive to shelter their offspring or make preparations for that offspring, and then that offspring had to repeat the process.
4 billion years. That is a humbling, daunting, and inspiring amount of time. My sons seem to be a much needed improvement on their father’s design too: well at least I think so. They are worth the 4 billion years they took to make.
Breaking off a tiny chunk of that time. We are only 79 or so generations removed from Christ, almost 57 generations from Muhammad, 98(+) generations from Siddhartha Gautama, I could go on, (Wait, though, I feel my mathematically inclined and science based friends cringing, these are really rough estimates based on 25.5 year generations, not exact, I’m measuring the night sky with a finger here) but I think you get my point.
Put that way, it is a finite number of people between me, and the contemporary fellows that rubbed arms with the aforementioned champions of faith/ethics. And the net of people that make up our ancestors grows wide in that direction into the past, look at any ancestry chart. So many interesting lives went into each of us, and any one of them severed to soon, or with different cards being dealt, would make us a totally different person, or we may not have been born at all.
I’ve been digging at what that means to me. Why it’s a sticky thought I can’t put down. The only thing I can think of is its like a parallax of time. All those people, doing what they thought had to be done to keep their people afloat. And the coded messages they transmitted, one to another, saying: “survive, survive.” Is it really that long? At 44 years, I remember past joys and hurt as if they are right here in the room with me. Mine is a microcosm of these same experiences and cycles played over and over on the echoplex of the world.
What I’ve come to is this, there is value in ethics, and helping each other, and there is a value in giving yourself back to your own life. One of my favorite lines from my own poetry is “you will spend the most profound moments of your life sitting in some else’s ecstasy, or their shit.” I used to think that was an awful thing to say, but I think also true.
But their are these other moments, where you are with your family, on a green lawn, under a willowy tree, staring across a living green pond full of golden fish leaping, just enjoying the presence of the tree on the far side.
May peace be with you in these troubled times, my good, good people. Live, fight, love, talk. Listen: you come from a long line of winners and go-getters.