Life appeared on earth about 3,800,000,000 years ago. The posts here discuss portions of that history and the relevance that I see in them to my life. What I’m learning about the epic of life stirs my imagination, consoles me, and beckons me to see myself and all living things in its light.
To our eyes, Nature divides so easily into foreground and background. In the foreground are the grandeur of the earth and stars and the plant and animal lives around us. In the background are the biological processes that seem too complicated to grasp, along with hundreds of millions of years of organic history. In these posts I hope to merge this foreground and background a little so that I and others might savor a richer meaning in living things.
Ferns, for example, took on a new significance as I learned that they were among the first plants to thrive on land when life moved out of the sea, so long ago (400 million years) that they flourished even as the dinosaurs were first evolving and long before the flowering plants. We live among—and are ourselves—continuous processes that are never finished.
So this blog turns out to be partly about time itself. We can’t see spans of a million or a billion years in the same way that we look at fossils. But filling in those zeroes with stories of life’s development and with reflection on their relevance for us can make those eons more meaningful. What is true about time reminds me of what has been said of the deity: it can’t be grasped directly, but we see it everywhere in its work.