Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lost Land

The Earth is constantly changing. Water flows across the surface, sinks through the soil, evaporates into the air to form clouds, and then it falls back to the earth.  Air never ceases it's movement. Every living thing on the planet respires in someway, so we are all moving air, in form or another, through us.  Fire changes earth and air and water from one form to another, shaping the world's landscape.  The very rocks and stone and soils we walk on are constantly being changed from one type of existence to another. As much as we tend to think of the earth as stable, we often ignore how very mutable it is.

From time to time, we get an opportunity to glimpse a piece of the earth's past, a piece of the human past and a glimpse of the incredible power of change that exists in our world.  In Wales, we have rare opportunity to see land that has long been covered by sea.  The stumps of ancient trees are exposed, temporarily, to sky, and we see lost land.  The spit of land appears every so often when weather conditions are right, and it has given rise to legends and provided scientists with unique opportunities to study the past. Both of these capture my imagination.

I've never been to Wales, but it is one of those places I hope to see one day, but I am familiar with lost land lands. Off the western coast of the Americas, lost lands silently hold the secrets of how humans first claim to this part of the world, but we cannot really see or study them because they are under the ocean waves.  Centuries ago, the waters crept up and covered them, taking them back, hiding them from view.  Ocean floors are often excellent caretakers of the past.  They gently cover it with sand and sediment and the very remains of ocean dwellers. Time stops then, in a way, and from time to time, humans find a way to look into those archives and find our stories.

The best kept secrets of human history, and very likely human evolution, are under the blue waters of one ocean or another.  Some of that story does get washed away, but other parts are preserved in incredible detail waiting for a time when we will be able to look upon it again.

For a peak into the sunken past, take a look at Cardigan Bay in Wales. Right now, prehistoric trees are above the waterline and reminding the world that people once lived there.

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