Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wakefulness extinguishers

(evacuation instructions)

Up at 4am, again. I tried going back to sleep, but no hazy darkness arrived. I am envious of people who can sleep. I have had a headache for days. I can't think. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if I could read. But my mind wanders restlessly off the page. It is not the type wandering that produces the occasional unexpected merit, just the dull repeating of themes that I would otherwise wish to escape, even if not in sleep.

I read essay after essay, hardly remembering any of them. It is just something to occupy the time. Nothing lost, nothing gained. There is only the unrelenting shape of time. Last night I watched the moon  slowly move across my bedroom window.  I kept believing it to be some celestial event other than what it was. I imagined it being a very near supernova, knowing that anything that bright and that close would mean something terrible for all of us.

It reminded me of the observation made by - well, now I've forgotten the astrophysicist... But he was basically noting the arrogance of a species that has only been on the earth for 250,000 years or so, thinking themselves to be in charge, pillaging their assumed "dominion."  The sun's fuel supply will exhaust itself in another 6 billion years, long after the human race has completely disappeared from this planet, along with virtually all evidence that we were ever here in the first place. This simple yet stupefying fact never seems to reach any of us. 

All evidence of our current existence will be completely wiped out long before our sun even dies. Our entire history as a species has been embarrassingly short, thus far.  

The dinosaurs were here for 250 million years, some of them. To state it again, we have been here for approximately 250 thousand years. It is simple math, yet it never seems to induce any sense of restraint in the hordes of listeners. Even referring to them as listeners is perhaps a generosity they do not deserve, and have not yet earned. Dinosaurs, the laughable relics of extinction, were here 1000 times longer than we have been so far. 

They must have really known how to sleep.