My wife and I visited with this little creature when she came to Seattle in 2009. Our kinship extends across time and space, where the exploding supernovas of billions of years ago provided the raw materials to allow our creation. Evolution gives us insight into what we are and how we came to be. It is truth.
The lights were low
the walls full of displays of little furry bipeds
hunting and gathering, crafting simple tools
from pieces of flaky shale.
After the noise and clamor of the walk up,
this tomb, this royal burial chamber
of space age plastic and microclimates,
was in fact a silent shrine.
All of this put into place to allow us a
look at the remains of an ancestor so far
removed that only guesses could be made
about her lifestyle, diet, hair color, what
she thought about and how she died.
She was laid out on a black table
velvet tickling tiny bones,
each rib and vertebrae a granite-gray and tan.
It was like a child’s skeleton offered for
veneration in a dark temple.
We circled around her case, looking at each chunk
of fossilized tibia and beheld evidence of knees built
for walking erect. You could hear in this evidence
her delicate footfalls under a deep blue moon one
quite night four million years before Homo Sapiens.
I felt the vibrations of memory as I stood there, sensed
echoes ringing off of canyon walls somewhere in
deep dark Ethiopia. In canvas tents teams of
scientists chatter and congratulate each other
on finding her. Over their celebrations a radio sings
“Lucy in the sky with diamonds…”
and the stars above the camp bear witness.