Reciprocity

Rain never falls in the same place twice. No, thousands upon thousands upon countless volumes quench the same site of the same thirsty earth that they’ve watered since the first hydrogens, in an anarchic plume, the father of that that imbues the lungs then blood then body then brain, collided with oxygen and, together too heavy to maintain in vapor, precipitated in the only direction that things precipitate. The very same spot, graced by the selfsame droplet, repeatedly, identically.

And yes, the very same ground receives it. The same ground here that was, then, there. Varying only by degrees of moisture, density, solidity. The earth that you walk upon, so have I tread; and so have the ants built of it their nests, and so the roots of ethereal grasses, eaten by cattle and crustacean alike, have nourished from earth that our steps have once packed and doubtless will trample again. From surface to center, the matter never changes in kind. It heats in the core, becomes solid, is slowly warn apart by its brothers and sisters, who differ only by a moment in time, and is churned and tilled to the surface in bits of itself that mix with the selves that it seeks to replace.

The same goes for us. We devour the plants and the animals that mushroom from earth, that are earth, lubricated by seamless seasons of never-changing rain; and thus we take the earth unto us, and turn the earth into us, into thymine and adenine, into cytosine and guanine, and from them into energies that expel from us back to it.

This page, and the words that scroll across it, exudes from chafed and abraded orography. And those not written, those tenuously clinging to earth, once spoken, provide for Eukarya, Archaea, Bacteria—for the algae, the fungi, the bacilli and spirochaetes—the vitality needed for their daily affairs.

Murmurs of thought are hence the provender of species infinitesimal, imperceptible; whose singular impact is only by degrees larger than the substance of the air within those words of ours they consume, but whose weight in the soil militates the spin of the earth we’ve been discussing; and their exudations, those proffered by our words, spoken by the sinews of our bodies, fed by things of earthly constituent and slaked by water’s archaic and lasting taste, return to earth that which had been lent for such brief a time.

And that which goes without saying, which leaps into the synaptic cleft an alchemical substantiation of notion or experience, chemiosmotically traversing the fibers of oneself, but going no further. That, as well, is of the ilk of the earth. For the meat of the planet provides the kindling that burns in these enzymatic flares, and also the ambience that keeps the gentle embers smoldering when the mind calms. And once the charred and crumbled afterthoughts are forgotten—dispatched through the process of the continuous generation of experiences and ideas, new dreams that push along the old and rush them through like an automated assembly line of intangible but nevertheless present products—they’re exhausted as an atmospheric element not different from those whose company they make. Then, this miasma of used-up thinking soaks, again, into Plantae, whose leavings have inflated our empty lungs just now, and whose roots take of the soil from which they, and we, are, to put it simply, made.

And thus, all is the same, across place, across time. The ingredients of our recipe differ only in portion and alignment from those of the most basic genus, with whom we share in this potluck. Even those who lack our convolution, the most insentient of earth’s involuntary denizens—ferns and their aphids, a time worn stone and the bacterium that somehow subsists on its barren surface—are not of any other constitution.

The products of our labor, the results of human ingenuity, are, in a double sense, still more the products of the earth and its rains. For without all the bits that make up the wholes, all the revolving, raw matter that we’ve been at length to describe, man’s handiwork would be nothing more than a notion, and we’ve already spoken of the fate of thoughts unsubstantiated. For all of our learnedness, we lack the endowment to spring forth a thing where once there was not. Whatever it be that we claim to have made, we’ve really only borrowed, from here and from there, the disassembled fragments of as many structures. More than produce, we reproduce. So it is that what we build is built from us, in a manner of speaking, from the matter that makes us, and that makes that, and there. And the impetus of our constructions, for creation now seems an inaccurate term, is a product in itself derived from products of the earth. For a lack of raw materials has yet to necessitate a lack of forms to make of them: a man without a dime still dreams of ways to spend one. Be it in a physical, chemical sense—that our thinking grows from energies resulting from consumption of the various forms of earth we chew, and swallow, and inhale, and absorb. Or, in a metaphysical, theoretical capacity: the interpretations and imitations of what we experience as directly born from the earth and conveyed into different castings within the workings of our tangled and torturous minds.

So this inextricable sameness—the thought that everything, without even the faintest exception, is made of the very same regenerating particles that were present from the beginning of time, if it ever began, until now and until infinite tomorrows have greeted and parted—will continue to erode and amass in an endless array of configurations of the same basic elements. We, and all else, are simply alterations of the plan, an amendment to the blueprint that lays out the makings of everything else. But to us, whose knowledge of such intricacies can only be of a stochastic and approximate type, these inconsiderable digressions of arrangement appear the most epic and sweeping. And so it is that no two snowflakes are alike.

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