Ants first appeared 140 to 168 million years ago during the Jurassic Period, but they only began to flourish about 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period in concert with the flowering plants.
So what’s with this “Jurassic”, “Cretaceous” talk?
And what does a breaking wave have to do with an ant on a hakea bush?
To answer the lathing latter question, I just liked how the two photos looked together. The curling spidery creamy white flowers of the hakea seemed not too unlike the wispy back spray off the waves. Maybe the ant enjoys hanging onto his green tube inside this unfurling whiteness as much as a surfer enjoys being on her board in the green room. Who knows?
What I do know is that a walk of observation around Windgrove always presents new wonders to the senses and brings me a little closer to understanding (actually “embodying” is a better choice of words) my connection to the time line that has placed me here on this earth at this moment.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean —
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down —
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
To get back to the ants, what I originally started out to write was that, with the help of Jess and Ruth, a new project was begun at Windgrove last week when we hammered into the ground at 50 meter intervals enough stakes to mark out 1.2 kilometers (or, for the metric challenged just under a mile). This will eventually become the Gaia Walk where people will be able to trace an evolutionary history of the earth from 600 million years ago to the present day.
Each step a person takes (assuming each step is a meter long) equals 500,000 years. The Gaia Walk will begin just as the last snowball earth event (see? more white) is about to blizzard near the end of the Precambrian Eon 600 million years ago.
Along the walk, as people walk through the years, signage will list the various time periods (Cambrian, Silurian, Carboniferous, Jurassic, etc.) as well as denote things of interest such as first trees, first flies, first cockroaches, first land snails, first snakes. Get the picture?
And, of course, the first flowering plants and the first ants.
As for those two people in the photo, where one is squatting and the other standing, the earliest evidence of bipedalism is the Orrorin leg bone from 6 million years ago. The first direct evidence of bipedalism is the Laetoli footprints found in east Africa dated to be 3.6 million years old.
Our current “modern civilization’s” time on this earth thought by scholars and experts to be the last 12,000 years or since the last ice age (forgetting, of course, the 50,000 year history of the Australian aborigines), is just a fat pencil mark on the fence post at the end of the Gaia Walk.