Thursday, January 9, 2014

One Red Hot Mama

Only 1% of the earth's crust is solid rock. Underneath the ground we stand upon, seething molten rock circulates, looking for cracks in the tectonic plates to spew forth its innards when the pressure builds to an intolerable level.

When Mother Earth feels the need to express a mood, her external affect is measured on a scale from 0-8. Her personality can be relatively benign, emitting whispy plumes of volcanic ash and a small trickle of liquid fire-rock, or higher up on the scale, she could become a murderous monster with the ability to wipe out life on planet earth as we know it.

Mama's biggest super-volcano and most living, breathing entity resides in Yellowstone National Park, deemed "Old Faithful" by tourists who love to watch her spew boiling water with the regularity of a cowboy with a wad of chewing tobacco in his cheek. Her caldero, a crown chakra that spans a 50 mile radius, breathes and heaves under an aliveness that bespeaks her massive power and presence.

Scientists try to reassure us that a warning, a.k.a. advance notice might be possible should she decide 'enough is enough' and blow her stack. Sure, people can move about 500 miles away and escape the rain of fire that literally froze people in their very stances as rock sculptures -  facial expressions an all - when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. But nothing, literally nothing, could be done to prevent the massive climate change wrought by the elimination of the sun's rays. Volcanic ash from a super volcano eruption magnitude 8 would blanket the earth's atmosphere and cause irreparable damage for centuries to come.

Granted, "Old Faithful" might not show her darker side to humanity for thousands of years. But when the kids behave poorly, one never knows when the wrath of Mama might descend on them.

Whether one is a superstar of a multi-million dollar movie franchise that incinerates in a fiery car crash, or workers in a Bangladesh factory, or a team of crack fireman caught in a forest fire, the heat of the elements shows no mercy when the power of fire exceeds the tolerance of matter.

So while the trajectory of our life cycle - it's length and the circumstances of our departure -  may have almost infinite causes, one thing is for sure. Nothing lasts forever except forever (which is in itself a human construct about the nature of time).

No one should live in terror of a super volcano or any other catastrophic phenomena, born either of mother nature or human nature. But keeping our inherent fragility in mind, it is good to remain humble in the face of life in action.

As the bard Cat Stevens sang, "We are only dancing on this earth for a short time," so we might as well dance before we get too old and crusty.





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