Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A long time coming.

In a blinding flash, the universe came into being 13.82 billion years ago. Since that time, aeons have past. Elements were created; galaxies formed and galaxies lost. In the stellar turmoil, after 9 billion years, one planet in a corner of one of one hundred billion galaxies emerged.

On this planet, through little understood processes, life formed out of a swirling biochemical sea. With the help of natural selection and myriad random influences, life shaped itself into Darwin's 'endless forms most beautiful.' One species, a newcomer to the game of life, appeared in Africa 100,000 to 200,00 years ago. In its tenure on this planet, this species would stare into the vast chasm of extinction, and in its recovery spread 7 billion of its number to every continent on Earth. It shaped the planet to suit its needs. It was gifted sentience, and with it searched for meaning. Humans, as Carl Sagan once famously said, are 'a way for the universe to know itself.'

And it's this search for truth, a means to understand this world and its remarkable history, that drives me as a scientist. I want to learn. I need to learn.

But I want more. I want other humans to get a modicum of the awe and wonder that I receive in my wanderings about the natural world. I want them to channel that wonder into action; helping to restore wild places and create a relationship with wild things. I want them to appreciate their existence in this world.

And, to do that, I photograph, and I write.

Or at least I did.

Depression has a tendency to inspire inaction, and force its victim to revile the antidote. Recently, I've made a number of changes in my life on the road to mental recovery. One of those, the reason you are reading this today, is using writing to express my deeply felt wonder.

Consider this a promise to you, the reader, and to myself, that I will go on this written journey once again. And a journey, as they less frequently say, always begins with a single blog post.

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