[W]e too are always falling … spinning into someplace new and unexpected. Despite our fears of falling, the gifts of the world stand by to catch us.*
Robin Wall Kimmerer
We’re not very good at predicting the future. … it might be worth asking “and then what happens,” five times. Five steps from here to there … If any of the steps involve, “and then a miracle happens,” or “we’ll deal with that later,” it might be worth taking a few more moments to reconsider the first step.**
Robert Wall Kimmerer tells the Native American creation story,
Of Skywoman falling to a watery world
with a handful of seeds,
Being saved from the waters
by the creatures who would fashion a place for her to live
with soil reclaimed from beneath the waters,
Fashioned as land on the back of a turtle.
Here Richard Powers ponders how far we have come
And what we are capable of:
I barely registered the landmark that life on Earth had just passed: A few self-replicating molecules, after four billion years of random walks shaped by nothing more than trial and error, had learned how to measure the infinitesimal dimming of light from trillions of miles away with enough precision to infer the transits of minuscule invisible planets passing in front of their obliterating stars – it was like detecting a fly walking across a streetlight in a distant city.^
It is worthwhile reminding ourselves that life residing precariously on the back of a turtle
is best explored through humility, gratitude and faithfulness,
Rather than through pride, greed and foolishness.
Especially when we remain so bad at looking forward,
Whilst seeing our mess so perfectly well looking backwards.
We can be glad for where we have landed
with seeds in our hands,
Our decent’s result could have been far worse …
And every day is a new place of landing.
*From Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass;
**From Seth Godin’s blog: “And then what happens”;
^Richard Powers, from Maria Popova’s The Marginalian: Into the Heart of Life: Richard Powers on Living with Bewilderment at the Otherworldly Wonder of Our World.