Sarah Carroll

It is spring quarter; the most unforgivingly busy time of the year. Just as all other living things are hustling and bustling in June, so are the students of UC Davis. There are classes to get to, exams to take, lunch meetings, review sessions and internships, bike masses to avoid, and Coho crowds to get caught up in.

This spring more than ever, I found myself swallowed in this whirlwind, hardly linear relationship with time. Everything is happening at light speed. It is down to a matter of moments. 80 minutes in Evolution lecture. 300 seconds to get to my next class. A millisecond neuron firing, reminding me to turn off the kettle.1.2 hours left before the final. I was in it for the long haul, but it was an uncomfortable, unsettling relationship.  

Now, here. Tucked away in the lower Sierra Nevada, at the Confluence of the Tuolumne and Clavey rivers I am astounded. Surrounded by these steep canyon walls of green trees or golden grasses and a gorgeous exalted emerald blue river at the floor, I can stop. I can remember the cadence of the Earth.

The processes that created this environment extended over the inconceivable time span of millions of years. The final product, the high peaks of the Sierra are young, a mere 10 million years old and still growing. The shape of the canyon and the geomorphology and home of boulders and sediment is an accumulation of years; brought down by the river, moved by the water, bypassed by the river. The bed of marine metamorphic rock divulges hints of the old earth and ancient creatures in its veins.

The cells of my body are full of river water. My ears ring with the calming sounds of water over rock. My ribcage expands slowly. I still cannot coceptualize10 million years, nor the sluggish shifting of plates. To be rock, scoured by water. But the amazing thing is, right here, right now, I can feel it. I remember, relieved, and relaxed, how time can be outside of my silly human bubble.

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