Life on earth began about 3,800,000,000 years ago. The posts here discuss portions of that history and their relevance to my life. Broadly, the epic of life stirs my imagination, consoles me, and beckons me to see myself and all living things in its light.
For non-scientists like me, nature divides easily into a grand foreground of animals, greenery, land, sea, and sky on the one hand and, on the other, the obscure background of how it all works, cooked over eons of time, glimpsed by scientists. In these posts I try to merge a little of such foreground and background to shed light on my own experience of life.
Take ferns, for example. These distinctive plants took on a new significance for me as I learned that they were among the first to thrive when life moved out of the sea on to land. This was 400 million years ago. Ferns continued to flourish even as the dinosaurs were first evolving – and long before the flowering plants. Such longevity in a familiar houseplant, such a heritage, is a reminder to me of the long, eventful emergence of living things, among which my own self is a single, fleeting instance.