Before Mountains Were Mountains

Mountains were mountains before we called them that. Then we claimed them and gave them names and the wonder was lost. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the first person to see a mountain, then to climb it and say you did it? We named mountains and rivers after our heroes: Mount Washington; the Hudson River.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for the early humans to discover desert and jungle and tundra? As we gained in knowledge, as the maps filled in, we lost in amazement and in imagination. Fish were fish before we knew we could catch them and even keep them. Once upon a time we were the hunted. Now we are hunters.

What is left to explore? What is left to find? What is left to imagine and amaze and destroy? Can it destroy us?

We flew a spacecraft to the moon. Now that’s done and we’re on to Mars, the war god’s planet. Will we find any signs of life, or did they make our same mistakes years and years ago?

Have you ever tried to count the stars? I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a lot of time and a long, long night. It’s like trying to count molecules or cells under a microscope; little signs of life. The universe pulses with breath and heart beat. We see it in our dreams. We hear it in melody. We sometimes fall asleep to the beat, beat, beating of waves.

What is it you believe? How did we get here? Why are trees so inherently tree-like? Why is it true that 1+1 = 2? Do oysters make a sound? The world is not just chaos. We didn’t start with maximum entropy. Do dogs bark because they should or because they evolved to? Could it be both? What is right and what is random? If there is an order to things, then someone must have ordered it. God made sunsets pink and said it was good. God gave man poetry and the Big Bang Theory and the invention of internal combustion engines.

We are borrowers of big ideas. We are discoverers of the unknowable, unclaimable, untamable and great. We choose what is given; we are given free choice. We see freedom and we will it to be.

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