I’ve heard about the “Seven Wonders of the World” all my life. I am positive that there are more than seven wonders in our universe. It is a safe bet that which of the wonders comprise the Seven is the subject of hot debate among those who have the time and ego to argue over such things as trivial as whittling the millions of Universe’s wonders down to a short list. Let alone Earth’s.
Today, I walked along the edge of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Squirrels scurry its surface, near-extinct condors swirl in its mist, stone and mystery echo the worshipers of its generations—mockery of unanswerable questions as tribute to that which beckons the only one worthy of asking. Why?
I am as un-grand as this canyon is grand; insignificant as it is cavernous, fleeting as it is enduring. And—forgive my directness—so are you.
In February, I gazed into the sky at a sliver of the Aurora Oval over Canada, enchanted as the Sun’s surface storms rained down as showers of plasma profundity into the icy chill. A line of celestial laundry hung out to sway quietly in the night and evaporate into the morning light, laundry that exposes human nudity under the majesty of Creation. Why?
Why do these immense things happen? Why does the Earth’s surface weather away one speck of dust at a time just to leave a billion years’ worth of history breathing from its depths? Why do the clouds frolic overhead without regard for cheerful summer leaves as they fall somber at the nonchalant sway of fall’s whim? Why do the years seem to gather up in wrinkles of worry and struggle on the face of humanity, while the same time is a fount of eternal spring on the face of our planet?
Why can’t humanity see its own nudity? Vulnerability? Finitude? Insignificance.
Maybe because humans spend their time and invest their thoughts in manufactured self-importance. It’s the only thing I can come up with when I consider that which endures beyond mood, political party, CEO, trend, idea, history record. There was something before humans recorded it. There will be much beyond our ability to observe and record. So why the sanctimony?
Not even the historic kingdoms constructed of stone and grandeur could avoid destruction. Entombed under dust and time, traces of their existences reach beyond their graves, grasping for life as cryptic clues. The same will not be so of the digitized world, which is a slave to swift, consummate erasure.
It is a wonder that man should conceive of himself great enough to write a list of wonders. Perhaps the greatest wonder of all.