It is easy to get caught up in the day to day drama that I often refer to End Days here. The "President" fulfilling "biblical prophecy" and the international bartering over nuclear weapons makes most of us nervous. And then it takes a little Neil deGrasse Tyson to remind us about our planet. "Planet Earth survives massive asteroid strikes - it'll survive anything we throw at it. But Life on Earth will not." A fine distinction, but one that seems quite relevant to me after Monday night.
With a head full of concerns about the Golden State Warriors' chances in the NBA playoffs, I sat with my wife on the couch after finishing dinner. That reverie was replaced abruptly by the house rattling and my seat below reminding me of the seventies movie theater gimmick, Sensurround. For a few seconds, I had a chance to reflect on all the things I had been told about surviving in the event of an earthquake. When the shaking stopped, my wife and I were still sitting, transfixed, on the couch holding hands. If that had been The Big One, we would have gone happy, together. Without any rage against the conditions that brought me to the brink of that abyss. It would have simply been the way nature decides for itself in some geological way that enough is enough. Thank you for playing. Game over.
Humans like to exert their mastery over the ground upon which they tread, but at the end of the day, we don't do as much dictating as we would like to imagine we do. The fracking and the ozone and the litter and the cute attempts at conservation are essentially a sum zero equation for the third planet from the sun. Climate change might eventually make life unbearable for us, but our replacements will be hot and happy with the biosphere we have generated. Someday they will write books about the land dwelling mammals that created the vast oceans that cover the surface and made it possible for the return to the sea. Those volcanic eruptions in Hawaii were just the first shots in a war that sent us back to where life began.
Or maybe they won't write books at all. Documenting their existence may be low on their list of priorities, since survival seems so very much more important. It's pretty hard to type with flippers.