You took the first portrait of me. I was just over a little year old, probably sleeping when you clicked the photograph. My family did not know, quite possibly only a handful of people in the world knew about it at the time. It was a little secret that I discovered close to three decades later. Better late than never.
I was not alone in the portrait. The person who introduced me to books, the teacher who showed me the path to a good life, the friends who went along in stupid adventures, the love, and the heartbreaks- all were in that portrait. And so was a Dusky Seaside Sparrow, probably returning to its nest in the glory of a Florida sunset. The gentle giant Sudan was drowsing in captivity in a foreign land. The Saint Helena Olive was in full bloom with its pink flowers. A school of Baiji Dolphins were frolicking in the Yangtze River. I rode the bicycle for most of my daily activities. Disposable cutlery was unheard of in my family. Life was unhurried while you approached the edge of the solar system.
As you continue into the infinite darkness, Sudan has since been freed. But alas, he has breathed his last. And with him has dimmed the hopes of an entire species. The olives eventually met the same fate as an exiled emperor. The dolphins of the Yangtze have not whistled in years. Three decades and seven thousand miles later, I witnessed the first light on a surreal place. A glimpse into what the Earth must have been in its prime. An automobile is now a necessary part of my life. Plastic straws and styrofoam containers are not too uncommon. I have changed. We have changed. The memory that you carry of us- is but a memory. The blue dot from your younger days has become paler over time.
Four decades and fourteen billion miles hence, you do not need to take another portrait of me. But the sparrow can find its nest again. We might not be able to reverse the clock. But we can keep it ticking. And your swan song can be our overture. We are significant because we are insignificant.
When the steaming cauldron, that once held the primordial soup,
From where the sugars went right,
And the amino acids to the left.
Life found a middle ground, evolving over eons,
Till the ‘intelligent species’ took over.
And the cauldron started to spill.
Too many cooks indeed spoil the broth.
Because we need the sun at night,
And the blinds by daylight.
Have you ever paused at the phrase ‘fossil fuels’?
How we built our lives, entire civilizations from Her graveyards?
Without mourning, without reverence.
But Her heart weeps
With the melting glaciers.
When shall we learn?
That when there is nothing left to burn,
All will burn.
And when the dust settles,
She will be ready with more love, and fuels.
But who will be there to receive it?
(Or it might be that the fact we are not trying to stop the madness is actually Nature’s
survival tactics? Maybe the only way to reset the environment is by extinction of the
human race that depends on us not caring about it?)
A humble tribute to Voyager I and Carl Sagan on Earth Day, with the dream of a better world.