Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrating Earth Day: A Moment in Light

By Patrick J. Walsh

On this day that we set aside to think about the Earth, it is instructive to imagine that moment, far back in the gray darkness of our infant civilization, when the first primitive human first became aware of a larger dimension to his or her own landscape.

photo courtesy of NASA
In the thin, weak light of that moment — or, perhaps, that series of moments in which the idea came and went, until it ultimately took hold — there is the start of our collective yearning to understand our place in the cosmos, and to discern the mile markers on the road of our collective journey.

Watch the video: A Moment in Light

And it is instructive, as we try to enrobe that moment with details of time and place and person, to further imagine a subsequent point in the vast history of our living here — to try to imagine the distinct moment in our collective consciousness when humanity first thought of the Earth not merely as the place where we find ourselves, but also as the place that we call our home.

In all that that transition implies, the Earth is after all the museum of our fondest memories of the past, and the canvas for the realization of our most cherished hopes for the future.

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Pat's video series "Five Minutes in Space"

As we imagine the primitive whose awareness was archetype of the perspective that has come to inform our modern understanding of the world, it is difficult to dismiss the responsibility that we now face in our sophistication.

Given the depth of our own awareness and the abundance of our blessings, it seems reasonable to assert that it is incumbent upon us to treat our Earth with the same sort of care that we each would, at our best, treat our individual dwellings, as we live out our lives in the best traditions of respect and honor for our neighbors, our community, and all the larger world around us.

Perhaps most importantly, as we mark this particular Earth Day and the grandeur of all that its celebration implies, maybe we can finally begin to learn to live as a family — aware of our differences in general, proud of our specific place in the group as a whole, and ultimately, all encompassing in our tolerance and kindness toward each other, wherever we may reside on this small planet.

© Patrick J. Walsh

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