We humans build many things as we go thru life. Some of us build companies. Some of us build friendships. There are few things that cannot be built over a lifetime, and even fewer that cannot be destroyed. We build as we see fit and destroy just as readily. Even that which we long to see last forever crumbles if we but blink accidentally.
Empires rise and fall, just as buildings do the same. Some things last for eons, but nothing will last forever. Look back across time and you will find many things that have passed below even the dust from which mankind fashioned them from. Dim memories are all we find, if we’re lucky. Yet, even dim memories can retain the luster of gold. We know there was once a great library at Alexandria. We know that great works were once kept there. Even though that trove was burned eons ago the memory of what it once was reminds us of how high we can reach if we but ‘build’.
Testaments to the greatness of mankind are the remnants of ancient civilizations that still peek out at us in the present. Echoes of what once was whisper their screams in silence reminding us of past grandeurs. Time has a way of rendering everything as a house of cards. We are left with an errant card, here and there, to ponder what it all must have looked like before the hand of man or some other force struck. Cities and temples the world over have sifted below the surface never to be seen again save for a few stones or simple depressions on the ground.
When humankind is gone how long will it be before there is no shred left to speak for us. “We were here.” That tome will be silenced by time as weather and continental drift resurface the planet. Of course after all that, Sol will run out of hydrogen and start to fuse heavier elements. When the sun expands into a red giant and devours the cinder of Earth, will it be noticed? When the gaseous shell is liberated from the core and flung into space at speed and the core collapses into a small dwarf of dense material, what will be left to be seen of who we were?
As the shell races away will it catch up to our twin emissaries? How far away will the Voyager probes be? Will the ever be found by intelligent life? Yes, it may all be unanswerable, but if we ask such questions without feeling a bit of melancholy hope what then? Hope got us this far, did it not? Hope was sometimes thick as thieves. At other times it was thinner than a wisp of spiders’ silk. But it was still ‘hope’.
Even hopes given up on linger around in thought as if they might find resolve to exist. Even as we drown in hopelessness our minds remember the tastes of ‘hope’. Vigilance may cower in a dark corner but it cowers with an unblinking eye trained on the place hope just might spring from. As the human race gasps and gags in the throes of destroying itself hope screams from the darkness and its bright stab of light sweeps frantically for attention.
If the dust we have kicked up ever settles whatever will be left will be far less than what we’ve built during our existence so far. But whatever is left will be enough for hope to reflect off of. If by then we’ve learned anything, we might at least realize how much of our existence we’ve wasted on fighting each other instead of fighting for each other’s existence.
What we have done up to today is our inheritance. When tomorrow comes will we have learned anything useful? Will we get it right? We will always inherit yesterdays but we only have so many tomorrows to do it with.
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