Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not normal

Sooner or later in every talk, [David] Brower describes the creation of the world. He invites his listeners to consider the six days of Genesis as a figure of speech for what has in fact been four billion years. In this scale, a day equals something like six hundred and sixty-six million years, and thus "all day Monday until Tuesday noon, creation was busy getting the earth going." Life began Tuesday noon, and "the beautiful, organic wholeness of it" developed over the next four days. "At 4 P.M. Saturday, the big reptiles came on. Five hours later, when the redwoods appeared, there were no more big reptiles. At three minutes before midnight, man appeared. At one-fourth of a second before midnight, Christ arrived. At one-fourtieth of a second before midnight, the Industrial Revolution began. We are surrounded with people who think that what we have been doing for that one-fourtieth of a second can go on indefinitely. They are considered normal, but they are stark, raving mad."
(John McPhee, Encounters with the Archdruid, 1971)

"The Hetch-Hetchy Valley, California" by Albert Bierstadt, ca. 1874-1880.