Terra, Our First Home

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January 17th: Terra Our First Home

Quotes of the Day

--Next came the Earth, our first home, both the shaper of life and the clay from which life makes itself.

-From the opening words of the SolSeed Genesis Service

PaleBlueDot.jpg

--Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Thoughts for the Day

I remember my first home. I lived with my parents, my brother, my sister and my dog in a suburban home in the East end of Ottawa, Ontario. When I am in the neighbourhood, I still drive by the home, now sold to another family. Just a quick glance and the confirmation that the house is still there is reassuring.

I wonder if millions of years from now, our descendants will look up into the sky and try to locate the approximate location of Sol. If they are even a few dozen light years away, it may be quite a dim star in their sky, being a yellow dwarf. In our night sky, especially in our light polluted night sky, we can see few stars further than 600 light years away and those are generally red and blue giants not yellow dwarves. So they may have difficulty finding Sol in a Milky Way teaming with much brighter objects.

Still perhaps they will find a dark place and look up into the night sky and, using a star chart or some other aide, they will locate Sol and feel reassured that he is still there and orbiting him so must be Terra, our first home.

But just as I rarely visit my old neighbourhood despite the fact that it is only about 5 km away, they may rarely think of their first home. They may spend more time thinking about their next home. Once they have lived through establishing a new colony (a Gaia-child) and then, from there, yet another new colony (a Gaia-grandchild) and so on for several generations, they may develop a habit of long term thinking that leads them onward and outward to ever new colonies.

But I imagine that this very habit of long term thinking will lead them to keep looking back also. The question of "Where to next?" will lead to the question of "Where from?" and ultimately "Where is our first home?", at least once in a while.

So, let us, while we still can see Terra easily, not a dim dot in the night sky but a thriving world all around us, let us thank her for being our first home.

Contemplation for the Day

Let us imagine

Terra, thank you for being our first home. Thank you for the stability you provided to Gaia as she grew from the tiniest of seeds to the thriving biosphere in which we are immersed and of which we are each a worthy part. We will always love you, even as we, Gaia, dream of growing up and giving birth to a family of living worlds.

Thanks Terra.

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