Saturday, July 13, 2019

a brief mediation in light of a fossilized skull
and a recent family photo

Dear man of the moon,

The summer fog over the S.F. Bay isn’t so low tonight that I can’t see
the emerald city across the way. High up, your three-quarter face emerges and wanes in the wind.

Anthropologists have recently gained confidence that Homo sapiens was living in the to-be-Greek islands ~200,000 years ago, witnessing you, the same moon.“Modern” humans didn’t leave Africa merely ~50,000 years ago. Diasporas went every which-a-way for unrecorded hundreds of millennia: All around the Mediterranean, Europe, Central Asia, South and East Asia, back to Africa, and out again, over and over... We might as well say that globalization and hybridization is intrinsic to our being, under the same rising and setting moon, emerging and waning witness.

Folk tales of civilization beginning in Ur or the Nile Valley are lore that certified to oral cultures a nebulously Deep Timedness of the gods that was wholly beyond human comprehension, though witnessed by you, like an eternity seeing all Time.

When the Bronze Age brought a cornucopia of Mediterranean civilization, We—They—of merely 0.03 million years ago had been lucid for 0.2 million years, as a genus traceable back nearly 4 million years—“under” your unchanging rise and wane.

We really don’t know what They did before lush southern regions of the Mediterranean turned to desert. Yet, tens upon tens of centuries passed before the Bronze Age triumphed, then waned, and a half millennium would pass before re-consolidation in the islands would lead to the golden age of classical Greece—as if the fable of Atlantis was an allegory of folk remembrance across so many undocumented generations: “Once upon a time, there was a great civilization of the sea, but it came to pass that they sank, while we are still here.”

A millennium would pass between the waning of Rome and rise of European modernity. Rising and waning, rising and waning, we then “chased the moon” like a vast tribe certifying the new Atlantis against the people of the Steppes.

We found you, Mr. Moon, to be “magnificent desolution” (Buzz Aldrin), then lost interest, except casually, now fifty years after that “one small step for man,“ July 20.

Yet, now, opportunists imagine chances for mining and tourism!—if we can figure out some laws to protect legacy already there and property to be privatized.

An Apollo 16 drifter left a color photo of his family on gray dust, as if to show exobiological visitors what we were—or to leave a portent of your fate, Mr. Moon: to be domesticated, colonized (like every continent that humans could reach), then to be a way station on the way to terraforming Mars or visiting Europa.

There’s no destiny. We rise, we wane. We envision, we witness, come what may. Hot Earth may enforce new waning, but Its life continues anyway, “whatever,“ as eternally as your witness.

No gods will arrive to prevent Us from waning in so much domestication.

Absolute Others may arrive from another star, some day, possibly to find only a planet of magnificent fossils and hints of departures that left for somewhere else, in the face of too much desert, as if we turned Heaven into magnificent desolation.