By Patrick Metzger
The things that you encounter in life that maintain steadiness at longer time scales are worth your observation.
There is a spectrum of time to be understood here. Most things come and go in an instant. A breath, a heartbeat, a shooting star. Others last a little longer. The feelings you have in any moment, a sound reverberating in the air, a great meal, a wonderful conversation.
From here, we can start to think of the full lifespan of entities. The life of a mayfly that might only last a single day. The life of a fly or a mosquito. The life of a bee who spends one glorious season pollinating things and taking care of its family. A robin that only lives a couple of years. A cat. A dog. A crow. A horse. An elephant. A human. A whale. A tree.
A redwood that lives 500-700 years on average, 2000 years at the longest. The wind-blown leaves of the welwitschia in Namibia, which have similar lifespans. The Sacred Fig tree in Sri Lanka—Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi—that was planted by someone 2300 years ago.
The sponges in the arctic that are thought to be 10,000 years old.
Pando, the stand of quaking Aspen that is thought to be 80,000 years old.
And there is a thing that goes older than the stone. Older than the mountain. Older than the earth. Older than the stars.
It is interesting that we’ve given ourselves so many excuses not to observe these scales of existence that are almost timeless from our perspective. We move from one city to another, locked inside our methods of transportation that hide us from the sun, concealing the natural world. We imagine that we made the world, that everything is new. We imagine that the rocks, the trees, the great buildings of old all simply disappeared of their own accord, rather than being painted over with the brush of industrialization.
But even the newest, brightest buildings are built from metals that have rested in the earth for thousands of years. The cells in our bodies were forged in the heart of stars.
Everything is old. Some things are just pretending not to be.
It is all disappearing. It is all being born anew. It is all ageless.
There are certain things that lie at deeper levels of life, at the heart of reality. And these things are worth your observation.