Friday, 3 February 2017

Finding Balance

It's a longer post today than usual, my friends. Bear with me, please. I'm going to talk about dinosaurs, and what came after, for a bit. Even if you don't care about dinosaurs, they were once an important species on Earth, just as the species that are now on Earth are important, too.

And then I'm going to talk about something else, something I've been thinking about posting for awhile.

But first the dinosaur extinction. I've just read a science article about what happened after the asteroid that led to the end of the dinosaurs, and the ensuing period of "... Earthquakes. Wildfires. Volcanoes. Acid rain. Dust and gunk in the air, blotting out the sun..." which led to long-term twilight and widespread loss of vegetation.

The article tells how the demise of dinosaurs allowed other life forms to survive and eventually thrive. You may have heard that there was a link between the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals, including man. But it wasn't a straight line, and it wasn't fast.

From studying fossils and rocks, scientists can deduce quite a bit about the kind of animals that were able to survive in the smoking ruins of earth. The qualities the survivors had in common are any of these: A small body. An aquatic lifestyle. Night vision. An unfussy palate.

The small body required less food and shelter (small is defined as less than 10 kilograms for land animals). The aquatic environment would have been less affected than the land, as it was buffered from heat. Night vision would have allowed easier mobility and food-finding. And an unfussy palate allowed critters to make use of whatever food they did find.

So, being a non-dinosaur, assuming I was still in one piece after the asteroid had come and gone, would I have survived for more than, say, a few days?

I am certainly bigger than 10 kilograms. I don't like the water because it causes me to breathe badly. My day vision is not that good, let alone my night vision. And being sensitive to flavours means I would never be described as having an unfussy palate.

I'd be a goner, for sure.

Ah well, maybe I'd be food for some of the other survivors ... and I guess that means I'd be around in one form or another a bit longer. Or forever.

 After all, as the song goes, we are stardust ... (click here to listen to "Woodstock")

And with all that's been going on in the world lately, maybe it's time to remember that one day we will all return to being stardust. Our sun will eventually flame out. Our planet will be destroyed. We came from stardust, and we will return to it.

Some people might feel that's a pessimistic and helpless outlook, or that it means I am ignoring all the world's problems and living in a bubble

Not so. It simply helps me keep life in perspective: Life is to be lived. Nature is to be enjoyed. We should try to be good and kind people. We should make the most of our precious lives, in this precious, precarious world. We should help others improve their circumstances if we can at all. We must be thankful for whatever good circumstances we find ourselves in, but not continually beat ourselves up if those circumstances are better than someone else's.  We should try to right wrongs, on both a small and a large scale. We should try to leave the world better than we found it. But we should not obsess over it to the point that we fail to see the gift of life that we have.
 
We must do what we can. But we must also live as fully as we can.

That's the way I see it, anyway.


Thanks, Pixabay.You have a picture for everything.



Two footnotes:

1.  Did you know that "Woodstock" was written by Canadian Joni Mitchell? She never actually went to Woodstock because her manager thought it would be better to do a TV talk show, but afterward she thought "the deprivation of not being able to go" gave her a unique perspective on the event, and others have agreed.

2. Fellow blogger Steve (from Shadows and Light), who comments here, came up with much the same idea at the same time I did, except he won the posting race and published his thoughts last week! Steve, I swear I didn't steal your idea :) 
   Here is the quote I left on his post, which so well captures the idea I'm trying to get across:

“In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.” (Alistair Cooke)

 

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As always, thanks for reading.





27 comments:

  1. Great post, and reminders that life is indeed short. Have a good weekend!

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  2. Although I agree with your last paragraph (before the pic) I have a different view on life and death, but that's not a bad thing!

    Love. Live. Life.

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    1. And by saying "this is what I think" I do leave room in my brain for other possibilities, Joey! Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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  3. LOL -- I don't feel at all that you stole my idea! I imagine there are lots of people with similar ideas swirling around in their heads in these semi-apocalyptic days. In fact, if anything, your Alistair Cooke quote helped crystallize my thoughts as well.

    As for Woodstock, Joni is one of my favorite musicians ever, so I do know that as her song. I've always lamented missing Woodstock, and I was only 2 at the time, so I can imagine how crushing it must have been for Joni to miss it!

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    1. I know! I wonder what she would have come up with if she'd been there after all.

      Your post on this topic really gave me the extra courage to post my thoughts, so thank you for that.

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  4. What a thoughtful and insightful post this morning. Everything that has ever been is still here in one form or another and even after the planet implodes and we are returned to the universe we will still exist in one form or another. Sort of comforting isn't it?

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    1. In a very big picture way, yes it does :)

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  5. That was a great read. I enjoyed it a great deal and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Hubby says, and I agree, "Mother Nature can take care of herself. When she's sick of us, she'll let us know."

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    1. Nature is a much bigger force than man, I agree! I do wish mankind would do better, but ultimately ...

      Thanks, Ivy.

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    2. She is at that.

      Have a great weekend and boogie boogie.

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  6. Thank you for that fantastic quote! And I agree with you. We are all doing this life the best way we know how, and what a shame it would be to ignore the everyday goodness we are lucky enough to be afforded.

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    1. I wish I had actually come up with that quote myself - but then, I'm not Alistair Cooke :) Thanks for reading, Angela.

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  7. The three things ypu say did happen and will happen. We won,t ,be here but they will happen. I also follow Steve.

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    1. Yep, and yep! I've seen you over at Steve's place :)

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  8. Neil deGrasse Tyson has raised this way of thinking to the spiritual. He finds it transcendent that we are made of the heavy elements that only come from exploding stars and as such not only are we in the universe, but the universe is in us. I adore him.
    OK Joni and Woodstock, now I have to dig this up and post a link to it for you. It's Richard Thompson performing that song at a Joni Mitchell tribute show back in 2000 or 2001. The look on Joni's face as she sways her head back and forth to Richard Thompson's guitar playing with her eyes closed is worth the price of admission.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h54rRq2SAv0

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Nice rendition, and if you've heard Joni Mitchell's performance of it, they are quite similar -- and fairly unlike Crosby Stills Nash & Young's version. Thanks for the link!

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    2. Really enjoyed the video. Now i will go find Joni's post. Here's a fact. Maybe you guys know. Woodstock was not actually held in Woodstock. I did not know that until I visited Woodstock. It is still a cool little town though.

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    3. I always heard it as "a field outside Woodstock" - did you visit the field, Chicken?

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  9. This was a very interesting read! I don't think it's a pessimistic outlook. It's very realistic. We won't be here forever and that's that. When our time is over, it'll be over. I'm okay with that.

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    1. Me too, although I kind of hope it's still a few years off :)

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  10. Lovely and wonderful post. It's definitely chock full of good advice and we would definitely live in a better world if more people thought like that. I love the Alistair Cooke quote. Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Mr. S. There are only a few quotes I really like, and that's one of them. Hope you have a good weekend.

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  11. A pleasure to read your wise reflections Jenny. In days gone by, the first people of what we now call Canada must have mainly lived in the moment - surviving, telling stories, raising children and supporting their contemporaries through good and bad times. Modern, western folk are often distracted from those core matters. We know too much and the more we know the more we find there is to know. This doesn't help us to find a happy equilibrium in our lives.

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    1. True - even a generation ago people were far more concerned with the basics of living. Life has sped up almost uncontrollably for many in the West. Sometimes I wonder what things will be like even a generation from now. And dang it, I won't be here to know!

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  12. This post is...everything. I agree 100%. Especially the part about getting rid of the dinosaurs;-) I listened to an NPR post today about a guy who lives in Alaska. He said the weather, the bears, the rising waters? They don't care if you are there. Your position is always precarious. You are small. And knowing that gave him comfort. I admired that thought (from my warm comfy little house)

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    1. It's always easier when we're warm and comfy to think those philosophical thoughts, isn't it? I've noticed that too. :)

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