Point of Origin

The cloud-cover seemed constant but it was probably less than half the time.  Or maybe more.  I tried estimating from memory how many days were actually overcast, but it seemed impossible to get a realistic number because each overcast day felt like five.  If I cared enough for accuracy I’d record the days without sun, but the truth is I cared more about how it made me feel than what was going on in the atmosphere.  Besides, what would knowing do?  There wasn’t anyplace reachable with a higher likelihood of sunshine, at least not without other drawbacks that made it worse.  I was here.  We were here.

Here was a planet that consisted primarily of two things: rain and dust.  You might imagine the one would put an end to the other, but it didn’t.  They both flourished and little else did.  We lived here, but we didn’t flourish in the way old books use the word.  At least not yet.  This planet was the cradle of human life in the universe.  Then it nearly put an end to it.  Now we’re back – some of us anyway – to reclaim our ancestral orb.  It’s different than the pictures from ancient human history.  But it’s also different from accounts of its apocalyptic end.  This murderous ball of mineral, plant, and animal matter has its cycles just like the rest of us.  The rage is over and a new calm has emerged.  I feel a bit like I imagine tenants of the Ark felt stepping foot onto an unrecognizable land, cleansed of its previous inhabitants by an ill-tempered earth.  It’s familiar, but not by sight.

Unlike Noah and his family, the human species hasn’t been floating aimlessly during the tempest.  We’re comfortably settled on three planets in a distant system, evolving and progressing as always.  After brief but painful pioneering and adapting there was an exponential boom that rivaled earth’s industrial revolution.  Humans as a species have never been better.  So what are we doing – what am I doing – back on the planet of origin, so long unfairly criticized and unrealistically romanticized?  I’m not entirely sure.

You could call it archaeology, though traces of our former occupation are all but non-existent.  You could call it research.  You could call it curiosity.  It is all of these things but with more attendant apathy than the words evoke.  It’s mostly restlessness and boredom that drove me here, and the bizarre human obsession with connecting the future to the past by way of the present.

A few hundred of us came.  We’ve been here for almost an earth year.  We have the resources to return to our system if need be, but we came to stay.  We followed that most human and inexplicable impulse; the mythical journey home.