When it comes to places that inspire quiet introspection, the Gobi desert has got to be one of the best spots in the world to sit silently, soak up the majesty of Mother Nature and reflect upon life, the universe and nothing in particular. Living, as I am now within the shadow of giant tidal wave-like sand dunes, it’s hard to ignore the truth that the world, like the dune beside me, is in a continual state of change. Because I travel and photograph people for a living, I am often asked if I am concerned that so much indigenous culture is disappearing from our planet at this time in history. The truth is, I am not. Just as the waves of these spectacular dunes ebb and flow with time, for me, so it is with the journey of everything coexisting on our planet. Civilisations, species, environments – we’re all at the mercy of the forces that propel life. It’s easy to forget that the world was once populated by a magnificent race of giant reptiles whose residency spanned many million times that of our own but whose legacy now to the planet can only be found filed away in the fossil record and indeed within the very grains of sand beneath my feet.
I think that we as humans love to believe that we can stop things from changing. We seem to devote large amounts of time and energy trying to preserve things the way they are. I reckon I’m with the dune on this one.
When we are all long gone from the Earth and she is entertaining new guests at the table of life, I wonder if they will lament the loss of the human species. Probably not. Possibly a little, with the affection that we afford the dinosaurs, but definitely, I expect they’ll be raising a glass to the fantastic resilience of life and its continued prosperity.
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