Earth as Egg

There was a time, a long time ago, when families were all by themselves. [1] These families were very much like your family, but they were poor. They didn’t have phones, and they didn’t have cars. They didn’t even have water or houses. These families lived in caves, or in the trees, and were always hungry and afraid. They could fall out of the tree, and if they were hurt, they could die. There were no doctors. Wild wild animals always wanted to eat them.

We know a little about these families because we can find their bones, their fireplace, their food. We sometimes even find their poop. If we are very lucky, we can even find their art. These families lived over a thousand centuries ago. That’s a long time.

Way back then, those families might meet another family. They might fight, or maybe they would be friends. If they became friends, perhaps their children would like each other and start their own family. We know many of them started families, or else your family wouldn’t be here!

When these families met for the first time, it was a big event. Each family thought of itself as an island in an ocean of nature. They thought they were all by themselves, almost all the time. They liked it that way.

A hundred centuries ago a lot of families got together in little groups. We call these groups tribes, and tribes live in villages. They could live together like this because they had discovered farming. As a result, lots of villages sprang up all around the world.

Little by little, the villages started talking to each other. Each time a village found another village for the first time, everyone became excited. Would this village be a friend? If they became friends, many good things could happen. They could trade lots of things. Their children could get married. And together, both of their villages could grow.

Still, each village was separated by great distances from the other village. Each village felt like an island surrounded by nature.

Over time the villages grew. Many of them would like each other so much that they became kingdoms, and even nations. Today our world is full of nations, almost two hundred of them. Nations have been so successful that they touch each other on almost all sides. They touch each other so often that no one feels lonely any more. There is hardly a single village in the whole world that still thinks of itself as an island.

Some people say our Earth is too crowded. There are seven thousand thousand thousand people living today, and together we are using up a lot of natural resources. When families were the islands, all the natural resources around them were more than enough for their needs. These resources were things like fish, fruit, wood, and water. Clean fresh water always seemed like it would never go away.

Today, families live next to each other, almost elbow to elbow in some countries. Even fresh water may run out soon.  Don’t worry. People always find a solution to problems like this. Other people might not like the solution, but they will still work. This is not what this story is about, though.

About one century ago people finally figured out that nature is much much bigger than we ever imagined. Nature isn’t only our neighborhood of nations. It’s not even our whole world. Nature is an entire universe. Our universe is big. So big that even trying to describe its bigness would take another story.

In this universe there are other worlds, similar to ours. There may be hundreds, thousands, or even thousands of thousands. No one is sure.

If you pretend to be a god, you can stand far above your house, your nation, and even far above the whole Earth. If you are standing up there, you can see all those other worlds at the same time. Each one is an island, separated by nature. It’s not the same nature as what you see out your window, but it’s nature all the same.

Our Earth is an island. There are many other islands out there, some closer than others. Remember those families from a thousand centuries ago? Remember how they felt when they met another family for the first time? We are just like them. The idea of meeting another world like ours makes us feel excited, and afraid.

Ready for eggs?

Have you ever seen a bird’s nest, full of fresh laid eggs? Not all the eggs will hatch. Something inside the egg doesn’t happen, and the egg always stays an egg.

Inside the good egg, something miraculous happens. Life emerges from non-life. Everything inside the egg is transformed from being yellow and clear into something that eats, poops, talks, flies, and even thinks.

Each egg is an island, just like our Earth. Not all eggs hatch into life, and not all worlds come alive like ours. But, like the egg, now that we are alive, we must not feel bad about transforming our planet. Like our egg, we need its resources to break open the shell and reach out to new worlds.

So, the next time you see a bird’s nest, think about your Earth. Don’t be too sad if we use of lots of trees or eat too many fish.  Why? Because when we go to a new world, we’re going to have to take some of them with us. After all, we are all in this egg together. [2]

The end.  Or is it?


[1] A story for the young at heart. Perhaps at bedtime when they are thinking deep thoughts, or maybe when they are looking at the sky. May all of us always be young at heart!

[2] It’s okay to be a little sad. And it’s very okay to be angry if someone uses up all the resources so that they are all gone.


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