As I sit here, praying my laptop doesn’t crash once again as I try to export my latest video stories (hitting the site tomorrow!), I’m trying to capture the enormity of today’s excursion to hike Mount Olympus. On the bus, I let my excitement about the mountain get the best of me and started just spewing facts about various aspects of nature and how cool the world is.
Take a second and just think about this: you, due to all the genetic miracles and impeccable timing and all the beauty of the universe, exist. How cool is that? It’s cool that coniferous trees exist in Greece and in California. And of all the coniferous trees of California, the Giant Sequoias are probably some of the oldest trees on earth, reproducing under extreme heat. That they can withstand huge forest fires, that they in turn need the flames to survive.
But don’t stop thinking about pine trees and their relatives just yet. Because wrap your head around this: the forests we hiked today are not so profoundly different from the ones we see in Massachusetts or New Jersey, where I hiked regularly.
These same photos could easily have come from the forests I know and love. And if I’m doing my conversions correctly, it was in the forties today while we hiked, and raining too. Not so different than the last time I went hiking in Reading, MA. But what was different was the truly profound experience of walking on ground that hold so much lore.
Forests are ancient, beautiful things. And this isn’t to say that American forests aren’t as old. But perhaps it’s because we are such a young nation that ignores the history of those who lived on this land before us, I feel very small watching a stream rush past me that has been rushing past this spot for millennia. Very small and very young.
Everything is relative I suppose. Compared to this grass hopper, our life span seems practically infinite. (They have a lifespan of about a year.) But next to these cliffs? We are but grasshoppers. Which isn’t to say that what we do doesn’t matter. I used to feel that way, that the universe is so large, our actions cannot have any true meaning. But I don’t think that’s the case any more. Everything we do has a ripple effect, no matter how small, no matter how much we think no one notices. And in a world marked with so much turmoil and injustice, I think it’s pretty incredible that our actions can make a difference.