Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Geologic time is Now

Do you remember the story of Aron Ralston? He is the guy that got his arm stuck after a large boulder (800 to 1000 pounds) fell on it while he was climbing in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Six days later, he walked the eight miles back to the trail head after having broken the bones in his arm and sawing through the soft tissue to amputate his arm with a cheap multi-tool.

In his book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, he mentions how one of his professors always told him that "geologic time is now". In other words, even tho we see rocks that we speculate may have taken centuries to fall, move around or be rearranged, when a big rock does fall, it falls quickly. maybe it sat in the same place for a thousand years, but it can go from up there to down here in less time than it takes to say "geologic time is now".

Aron Ralston got a vivid illustration of this when the huge rock that had sat up there for a really long time crushed his arm.

Sometimes we feel this way about taking care of priorities in our life. We think that things will always be pretty much the way they have been and, if they do change, it will be slow and gradual. Like the way we imagine years of erosion move a rock.

But, things can change in an instant, the way a rock really does come crashing down after years of erosion seemingly have no effect. Maybe if we realized this, we would be more watchful, more ready. Or maybe we would at least learn to appreciate things the way they are more, realizing that it won't last forever.

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