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Everything Comes

Everything goes

Simple 5-petalled pink rose fully open.
This beautiful flower at Evergreen has come and will go.

I’m reading the global bestseller Sapiens: A Graphic History, by the Israeli historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari. It’s about the emergence of humankind, from ape through to moonwalker, and now to genetic code manipulator. The bold, lively, comic-book style illustrations by David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave turn a complex subject into bite-sized pieces even I can understand.

Harari didn’t dedicate the book to his parents, one of his professors, his partner, or a pet. He dedicated the book thus:

To the extinct, the lost and the forgotten. Everything that comes together is bound to be dissolved.

After reading a book spanning 13.8 billion years, I feel very small, acutely insignificant. It reminds me that very shortly, in the blink of an eye in the lifespan of human existence, I too will join the host of the extinct, the lost and the forgotten. What is holding me physically together will be dissolved. Probably a billion years from now the island currently called Australia that I live on will be a different shape and the city of Perth will have tumbled to ruins. Homo Sapiens may have disappeared from the face of the earth, and the things that will fly through perhaps green skies have yet to evolve.

In this introspective mood I recall a scripture from my church-going childhood, Isaiah 34:4:

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

In other words, an ancient history book and one of the latest history books flying off New York bookshop shelves say the same thing: all things shall pass away.

I don’t know where I’m going with this article. I feel I should just sign off right now — “With love, Marlane” — and go for a long walk to try to dispel the cold, heavy, heaving sense of futility within me that these words about all things passing away bring. But I’ll persist in sitting here and see where the keyboard takes me.

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

13.8 billion years that came before me . . . the 13.8 billion years that will come after me . . . pointlessness . . . fear of death. . . desire to live forever . . .

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

I get up and make a coffee. Cut my nails. Watch a family of wood ducks graze beneath the weeping willow.

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

I do a video call with my son and his wife far away in America. Add avocados to the shopping list. Think about disease . . . funerals . . . births . . . bathing in the sea . . . dyeing my grey hair bright red . . . stopping time . . .

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

It’s no use. My fingers slow down. My mind ceases its race to find a solution to the endemic fact that I’m a byproduct of life, a mere consequence of cosmic forces beyond my control.

I can’t stop the dissolution of me, and the eventual dissolution of all things. It’s going to happen, no matter what.

So, what can I do?

Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

All I can do is give my blink-of-an-eye life my best shot.


Tap . . . tap . . . tap . . .

I can give this moment that’s hovering between past and future my full attention.

I can cook and eat and read books and hang out the washing. I can pump water and swivel the solar panels on their pivot pole to catch the sun better. Sweep the floor and buy blue earrings. Weed the garden. Burn the toast. Go to work. Sing in the shower. Kiss Rob goodnight. Watch the moon rise through my bedroom window. Make a mental note to pick lemons in the morning. Fall into dreamless sleep. Wake up to the loud dawn chorus.

By doing these things I’ll sort of create my own comic-book style graphic history. It won’t be 245 pages long, it won’t be published, and won’t fly off New York bookshop shelves. It’ll just be my own brief, itsy-bitsy contribution to what Homo Sapiens call Life.

That’s all I can do.

And that’s enough.

With love, Marlane

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