Sunday, February 3, 2008

welcome to a new era

I read yesterday that scientists now believe we have entered a new geologic era, ladies and gents welcome to the Anthropocene Era! That means that the earth has been so altered by one species, humans, that one must consider it to be different place than it was in the Holocene. More that half the dirt on the planet is being used, cultivated, altered by us bipeds.

Reminds me of the middle part of this poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

God’s Grandeur
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

I love this poem and I do believe that nature is never truly spent, though alas, the warm breast of the Holy Ghost brooding over us is not something I frequently feel in this new era.

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