Somewhere in the deep dark heart of it all there is a man with a plate in his lip, and he is my great-grandfather (maybe more great’s, but how great? I could never know). He used to clap gourds and watch savanna birds fly out of the grass and know the weather for the next season. There was no end to knowing. Then I came along and suddenly we knew nothing. There was no grass left, no birds; just a long beach speckled with sparkly sand as far as the eye could see; nothing else to do but walk along the beach under the blazing fat sun and pick up sand grains, down and down the beach until you knew each and every grain. Then what to do? Then where to go? Then whose hand to hold tight onto what? My great-grandchildren will think it crazy to pick up sand grains. They will never build castles or fill hourglasses. They will have to grow longer arms, sharper eyes and reach out from the globe, turn the earth into a dandelion head. They will have to reach out into the expanding emptiness and pick up each star, down and through time and space until they found themselves, still developing cyanobacteria, still wriggling in and amongst the grains of sand on a rock somewhere in the deep dark heart of it all.


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