Gaia on the Beach
This is one page of the Metaphoriuminomicon
Quote of the Day
- First came the leaves, ?floating? leaves,
- the surfaces on which Sol's fire was captured!
-- SolSeed Sabbath Ritual for the Viriditas de Terra season
Contemplation for the Day
Tired of the Buckleberry winter, you have decided to take a vacation on the beaches of a tropical island. Luckily the airline let you bring your elephant, because it turns out that your elephant is really good at vacationing, especially at an all inclusive beach resort. When you are offered a fruity drink or a rich desert, his trunk reaches out and takes two (one for you and one for her) and you don't even have to interrupt your conversations with the other guests to think about it.
Your elephant likes to try all the activities available at the resort, scuba, surfing, parasailing. The sight of a parasailing elephant, even a metaphorical one, was pretty funny. And you would never have tried a lot of these activities if you had taken the time to think about the dangers involved. But because you are with your elephant, you don't have to think.
Still, one afternoon, you decide to escape from all the conversation and activities and overeating and over-drinking. It isn't that you aren't enjoying it all, it's just that you need some quiet alone time to process it all. You noticed at one point that hardly anyone goes to one end of the beach because it's all rocky and covered in rotting kelp.
You walk there now, and as you wander among the cliffs and rocks, a peace descends on you. You begin to notice little things. Insects feeding on the kelp, barnacles in tidal pools, crabs scuttling into the water as you approach. Your elephant, who was at first reluctant to leave the busiest parts of the resort and was complaining that she was missing out on a sale of really cute sundresses at the resort boutique, is now leading you along the beach, as fascinated as you by the little fauna populating it, but you notice, still carrying a fruity drink with its over-sized straw and paper umbrella.
Up ahead you spy something greenish blue lying on the beach. Your elephant leads you towards it and before long you see that it is a person, a pregnant woman, yes, Gaia. As you approach, her you see that she is sipping on a fruity drink while reading a bright yellow book through sunglasses. She is lying directly on the sand. As you sit on the sand by her feet with your elephant, she slips the sunglasses down her nose so that she can look at you and half puts aside the book.
"Oh, it's you! How are you enjoying your vacation, little one?" she asks, putting the book down entirely. You see that the title is 'Chemistry for Deities'.
"It's wonderful!" you cry out enthusiastically and then you say, a little guiltily, " but I will return to my life of devotion to you soon!" and then, in order to change the topic, "What brings you here?"
Gaia laughs, "Little one, I am everywhere that there is Life. Especially at this resort where all the people are so alive. And lying on the beach in the rays of Sol feels so good."
"You like the feel of the Sun on your skin?" you prompt, just hearing Gaia's words soothes you. Your elephant looks deeply contented.
"I like the taste of Sol's light in my plants. It tastes so sweet. Sugar blossoming into existence at a rate of thousands of tons per second. No thought on my part goes into it. It just happens because all the individual plants and animals and fungi and algae and bacteria each do their thing. So sweet!"
"Literally!" you laugh.
Gaia closes her eyes leaving the sun glasses slipped down her nose so that she can feel the sun on her eyelids.
As you think about what she said, your elephant reaches out with its trunk and gently lowers you onto the sand beside her so that you can enjoy the warm sun also.
You think about how the speedy thoughts of your conscious mind seem so important but how they are supported by so many layers of activity that you don't have to think about. "Gaia, I am blessed to be a part of you, " you tell her. "I am blessed that so much supports this train of conscious thought that forms the core of me: my mammal brain, my reptile brain, my fish brain, all the complex chemical machinery of my body." Your elephant notices that you are getting too hot and uses its trunk to put the straw of that fruity drink to your lips. You suck in a cool swig from amongst the ice cubes and the cool and the sweet is welcome.
"You are blessed, little one," she says without opening an eye or moving a muscle. "And it doesn't end there. You are also supported by the labour and organization of billions of humans who work to supply your needs, the functioning of unimaginably large numbers of animals who provide crucial ecological services to this biosphere, the plants who form all that sweet sugar, more than 100 times the mass of all human beings each year in net new sugar."
"You seem obsessed with sugar Gaia." you laugh. Your elephant wipes a trickle of sweat from your forehead just before it would have dripped into your eye.
"Of course I am." she laughs with you, "Sugar is the main currency of my energy budget." she dozes a bit in the sun and then says, "You know, I too am blessed to be part of such a perfect universe. And you are also blessed for that through me. There are all the inorganic processes that you don't have to think about too, Sol burning millions of tons of mass per second to produce the light that we are enjoying, Terra rotating on her axis each day, like a rotisserie, keeping her one side from burning and the other from freezing. The moon and its tides which made the transition of Life from sea to land so much easier."
"All that is there in order for us to be!" you cry out joyously. Your elephant trumpets enthusiastically.
Gaia laughs, "No little one. We are blessed that it is all there but it is not there for us. All this may be happening without a thought from us, but it is also happening without a thought about us. If I am lucky and you do your job and the Destiny comes about, I may yet become an important player in the universe, I might even shape the fate of the universe, that is a topic for another season. But right now I am a thin, spotty green film on a pale blue dot and none of this was made for me or you.
"Yes we are blessed but we are not chosen."
As you continue to doze on the beach thinking about this, you sleep and when you wake you are back in this world at service.