Monday, August 22, 2011

Santa On The Rocks

Geology. For over a year now I have been making my way slowly through the accumulated articles in John McPhee's "Annals of the Former World".  My conclusion is that the Truth of Existence is in the strata; the layer upon layer of evolving earth crust. The millions and millions of years; the inorganic and the organic laminated together by heat and pressure. 

Geology.  It is a lithium spring in the center of the human psyche.  It is the answer.  Our lives, our work, all that surrounds us, is destine for a subterranean shelf were it will rest until that section of the Earth's mantel drifts to a subduction zone, is ingested, turned to molted lava then spit back up again through some future volcanic pore.  Meaning is what is temporal, fleeting, silly, arrogant.  Think of it this way; there is a blast furnace, we are tied to a conveyor belt, it is carrying us toward the oven's mouth. The game of  life is to untie the ropes and escape.  We repeat this game over and over every minute we live. Eventually we lose.  Its a fact one can struggle with, lose sleep over, that knots the bowel and gnaws the nails, but that's just the way it is.   

15,000 years ago  (a twitch of an eyelash in geological time) this spot where I am now sitting was covered by a mile thick sheet of ice. Not one green leaf was present, not one little worm, not a single chirping bird, not even a sound track of "Felice Navidad" to herald in Christmas eve.  There was  just ice and under the ice, rock, and under the rock, layers and layers of lifeless stuff. 

So why all the fuss?  Why all the attachment to what was never going to last in the first place? Why all the guilt and fear over the changing  environment?  We must kill to live.  We must devour life to sustain life.  Even the pacifist vegan is a killer, a destroyer, a consumer. 

Personally, I love bitching.  I find it entertaining. A good rap on environmental degradation is always a great conversation starter.  Age, which I now have on my side, is the right to compare the way things were to the way things are and then predict the way they will be.  Pretty heady. Fun.  But if you're ever really nervous about the Big Picture, forget the shrink or the shaman; find yourself a geologist and go walk a mile in his shoes.

Merry Christmas!

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