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What I've Learned From a 400 Million Year Old Squid

This is a fossilized sea squid colony that I keep on my desk from the Denovian period, which was a little over 400 million years ago, making this fossil significantly older than the dinosaurs. Almost half a billion years ago all these little squids were squishily squirming about in their colony, doing their squid things and living their squid lives while other animals were slowly adapting to travel on land.

This fossil is OLD and you can feel it when you hold it. Now, you may become aware of sense of gravitas, awe or wonder when you hold something this old and realize the sheer age and history of what you’re holding.

Contemplating what’s happened and how the terrain of the Earth has changed since this colony expired can be truly mind boggling.

This particular fossil was carefully excavated in the Saharan desert on the north end of Africa, one of the world’s least hospitable places for life on dry land and believe it or not, the Sahara used to be a very fertile sea bed.

Over the eons, the continents shifted, the poles reversed and the waters receded from the area that would become the Sahara and because of those changes, rich mineral beds were buried in silt and sand which preserved much of the abundant life there and promptly built sandy terrain over it all.

Because that’s what life does, doesn’t it? It changes and builds the new structures and experiences on the remains of the old. Terrain changes and builds new structures on old terrain, civilizations adapt and expand on the physical and social structures that already existed before them and our children grow into the roles that we create for them as we did with what our forebears left us.

And the lesson in this cycle is that it’s okay to change and expand on what’s old and established and as you do so, you may let go of what no longer aids you. You can dig it out, toss it aside, burn it up or grind it to dust if you need.

So, as the never ending cycle of change occurs in the terrain around us and within us we can be aware that adaptation is the trademark of humanity and the source of our steadfastness in the face of change.

As the continents move and the poles shift again we can ensure we are ready to preserve and learn from what’s important for future use.

And as we do so, we can reach back through time, sift through the changed terrain and find the fossilized remains of that which seemed useless or perhaps even harmful and turn it into something beautiful.

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