posted by dave on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 11:13 PM in category ramblings

I was thinking earlier today about something I'd been thinking about last week, about something I'd been thinking about two or three years ago when I read a certain book. I don't remember the name of the book. I remember that I kinda liked it, though. Light-something, I think it was called.

I don't think I'll feel that bad for myself, should I continue down this path and die childless. After all, people die childless all the time. Why should I be different? I do try to live my life the right way, and I try to help the people I care about. I guess they're surrogate children, of a sort. Sometimes those people even let me help. That's nice of them.


Last week, I was in the hospital talking with my grandmother. My last grandmother. My last grandparent. My last remaining ancestor. It's hard to describe, the thoughts that were going through my head and I sat and chatted with her, for what at the time I thought might be the last time.

My mind went back, as it had years ago when I read that book. My mind went back and back and back and back...

Now, anyone who knows me also knows that as far as religion goes I'm an agnostic at best. This means that I believe in evolution. This means that I believe, just as strongly as some people believe in an invisible man in the sky who controls everything but prefers to let people suffer, I believe that my family tree goes back much farther than 6,000 years or whatever those crackpots zealots believe. I believe that my family tree goes back billions of years. I think that 3.7 billion years is the current estimate. For the beginning of life on Earth.

Back then, back at the beginning, there was something. probably a single-celled organism, but maybe something even more primitive. Maybe just a clump of amino acids that had clumped together just right. Whatever it was, there was a first. The first life on Earth. And then, because of the first, there was a second, then a third, and a fourth. And then, millions and millions and millions of generations later, here I sit. Letting my fingers type into this journal because my brain is too distracted by a sweet heart and a pretty face to be bothered to write anything coherent or relevant.

If I should die childless, I will feel bad. But not, as I said, for myself. Nope, I will feel bad for the first. For breaking a chain forged billions of years ago. Because the first sprang from nothing, and that effort, against all odds, deserves better than for me to simply die. For me to let the chain end.

I will feel bad. Billions of years, wasted, because of me.

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