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The opening line of “Carmel Point” by Robinson Jeffers has been on my mind recently: “The extraordinary patience of things!”

Dear old Robin can be crotchety. In fact, he can be downright misanthropic. I sympathize.

But his vision was framed by what we’d now call deep time. Within this frame, human affairs seemed frivolous, and humanity evanescent. He’s been described as a nature poet. I’d call him Gaian. He doesn’t merely appreciate landscapes; he perceives the intelligence of the cosmos.

In “Carmel Point”, he describes Gaia as an unhurried, indifferent observer of frenetic human building. She knows all these housing developments will soon enough crumble into the sea.

If we adopt a similarly long view, he says, we will find our confidence. Anxiety is everywhere because confidence is gone and confidence is gone because we have become locked into the short term. We cannot see into the future.

To be fair, the short term is gloomy. And, furthermore, we may go extinct at any point. But what does that matter, really? We are at the service of life, for whatever time life grants us. Life will continue, in one form or another, for many aeons to come. This is enough.

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