"... it was just such a great way to experience something that seemed to demonstrate our own place and importance in the universe."
from The West Coast Trail: One Step at a Time
On our last night on the West Coast Trail, we realized that the bright light in the western sky was the planet Mars and that this was the closest it had come to Earth in 65,000 years. Aside from making the night noteable on a memory level and from reminding us of our stature in the universe itself, it served to give us some insight into the concept of time. We humans generally consider time in relation to our own lives as we relate to everything in our world on the basis of a human lifetime. This puts us at a distinct disadvantage when we are considering many things like environmental impacts, climate change, geological movement, evolution, the cosmos and our own place in history. The planet has been here for almost 15 billion years and so the proximity of Mars every 65,000 years is simply a drop in the bucket. When put in that light, it is remarkable how much impact humanity as a whole and individuals in particular, can have on our existence.