Walking on Emerald Earth before it was Emerald Earth, before everything that happened, is quite an experience. Just like the Skers, who dream of “walking under the stars,” this became my dream. To live among you, knowing what I know. Remember, I was born here. Think of it as my right of return; my right to know.
There are rights that are self-evident. I believe in them. In fact, I now live in a world full of people who believe in them.
It took us 300 generations to achieve all that we have. It wasn’t easy. We had to fight off the old ScreenMasters. Twice. Then we had to fight off the Geheinneons, if that’s the right way to phrase that. Then came the beautiful Nor. Then the Chagan Caan. And then, there is always us. The battle within.
We have, for all of that, hewn a better way; a different kind of progress.
We know that the past cannot be changed. It’s like a video tape. You can watch it. You can save it for another day. You can even live it. But you can’t change it. It’s over. It happened. Done deal. The past is the past.
You can change the future from the present but you won’t know how. That’s a guessing game. The future is a promise, nothing more and nothing settled.
All of the great events occur in the present: love, children, family, war, starvation, genocide, charity. My present is your future and your future is the distant past for me. I’ve come back in time to learn more. I can’t change a thing, but I live it with you and that is enough.
One of your writers once said, “The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs.” And, “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.”
Isn’t that beautiful? It reminds me of who we really are. The acorn is so small and vulnerable, the winds can move them around, anything can crush and crack them. Inside, they are exposed and fragile, easily ruined. And yet the mighty oak comes from this tenuous object.
What hint in the acorn is there of such a triumphant and colossal destiny?
So, now I am walking among you here in Emerald Earth’s most defining days.
This afternoon I saw the Atlantic Ocean, an estuary, a lush forest, a long hot sidewalk, a cemetery, a street too far, a puppy, and then a grown, happy Labrador retriever who put her head under my hand like it belonged there. Looking at the owner I wondered what wonderful strand of such patient, loving DNA had she transmitted to the Emers? What role did she play in our history? A child? A job? A death?
These questions are why I’m here.
<<This woman was the mother of a MoonBase crew member.>>
<<Is she still alive?>>
<<Heavens no. Nearly three thousand years gone.>>
<<She lived for thousands of years?>>
<<Eight years Earth time. Her descendants are spread over all the planets.>>
<<As are yours, Rudi.>>
<<True, Farson.>> Farson could sense that she was lost in her own thoughts concerning that idea.
Walking among you is still amazing to me. I’ve only been here for a month, but I am from here. I remember being a boy here, although even that is still 50 years from now. The other day I was in Boston on the sidewalks in a noontime rush. People everywhere. It reminded me of running my fingers through Karina’s smooth hair, or maybe like a grass dolphin moving the sheaths of amber. Histories were everywhere like galaxy clouds immeasurable; memory washed over me like a wind. It’s only these last few days that I’ve finally begun to acclimate. It’s like learning to walk in a wind storm, or maybe like sailing in a hurricane.
I still know the wind is there, but at least now, I can move around.