Great clouds of water vapour are slowly rolling across the pale blue backdrop of the evening sky. Birds are cutting their paths through the air above the distant trees in a landscape marked pertinently by one particular unusual animal. Fields with neat rows of crops forming a patchwork of yellows and greens that stretches off into the horizon, great steel street lights arch over the busy roads that cut their way into the distance. Rows of red bricked houses, their rooftops intertwined with wires that provide momentary perches for the birds as they fleet from garden to garden. This is the view that I see daily from my window. I seldom stop to contemplate the wonder of the view from up here. After all, it’s hardly an archetypal picturesque view that you’d find on a nice postcard, but in a certain frame of mind it is intricately beautiful in every respect.
It’s beautiful because it harbours a stunning diversity of living organisms, creatures that eventually evolved the consciousness to appreciate and understand this lump of rock we call home. Being one of those creatures, sitting here and gazing out of the window – even at the most unremarkable surroundings – is a wonderful experience. Many of us, myself included, spend far too many days idly glancing at our mundane surroundings without contemplating exactly how deeply wonderful of this little planet is. The world around us often fades away into the background amidst our daily concerns and activities, this series of articles hopes to shake it firmly into the forefront of our minds.
It’s an epic 4600,000,000 year journey filled with triumph and tragedy on a scale that dwarfs even the greatest of myths. I hope to tell the story as best I can, starting from stardust and ending in civilization, its a story of how simplicity gave rise to wonderful complexity, and how a peculiar kind of bald ape eventually came to be king of the world.
This is the story of the place we call home.