by Mark Belletini
O Love, here I am, at this moment, on this planet, in this place, utterly in awe that I am alive and that everything is. In awe because I know I would not be here at all except for what has been revealed in a grand and sacred text written in strata, stars and grateful observation:
That I am here proclaims the tale of billions of years of gathering stardust, solar birth, gravity and other forces scooping the dust into the solid orb on which I stand; thunder and lighting and boiling seas for countless years; lava, proteins, cells, unnamed early blobs of what we now call life; a billion, billion trilobites in warm seas; soft molluscs in their spiral shells, bony fish, and a hundred million years of shiny amphibians, centipedes the size of my body; ferns and trees that no longer exist; a hundred million years of great reptiles, feathered creatures morphing into birds; great sloths and wooly mammoths and wide-eyed lemurs grabbing onto branches with almost human-like hands; early humans gathering around waterholes on the African veld; pyramids and reed boats, star-watching and calendar-making, the vain smoke of sacrifices, the groan of chants curling into songs, the taming of horses and dogs, the refinements of cruelty and their antidote, empathy; the mutation of genes and chromosomes, the cry of language, the prophets, farmers, sea-farers and laborers in stone and wood; the struggles and wonders of genders, sexualities and spiritualities; war, peace, famine, greed, critique, abundance, loss and love. And all of these things together lead to this moment, and to me and you, fragile leaves on the tree of life who now keep silence before this wonder.