The Earth is 4.5B years old: I want to catch Trout

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Somehow, this morning I am struck by the overall evolution of life and what it means to be a human. AND how catching trout on a fly rod is for the benefit of the entire universe 🙂 I am not crazy I swear—LOL

Okay here it goes:

According to Wikipedia, the earth was formed 4.54 billion years ago.

People Came 65 Millon years after dinosaurs

To put the image above into context, the USGS states that “after the dinosaurs died out, nearly 65 million years passed before people appeared on Earth.” So, literally humans can’t even fit on the image above. CREATION is of epic proportions. Our little human lives are a fleeting spec in the span of existence—a single wave on the ocean of time.

The first land Plants

“If all Earth’s history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only the last 90 seconds.”

National Geographic

Check this out, states that “The first land plants appeared around 470 million years ago, during the Ordovician period when life was diversifying rapidly. They were non-vascular plants, like mosses and liverworts, that didn’t have deep roots.” 😳 Say Whuuu!?

Yep, it took 4 billion 70 million years (4,070,000,000) before PLANTS EVEN GREW ON LAND!


Get this, flowers first appeared on Earth about 130 million years ago. National Geographic helps paint the picture and states, “If all Earth’s history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only the last 90 seconds.”

I’ll state the obvious—life is refining… AND we are at a VERY PRIVILEGED point in time on this planet.

If nature is the canvas, I believe that human beings are the paint? I am saying that we, at this point in time are the flowers of creation. Who knows what is going on in the rest of the universe, but it is this brief point in space and time—on Earth—that creation is blooming to FINALLY experience itself. 

I would be remiss to not point out that yes, we are also destroying the planet. However, from this more holistic perspective, human evolution seems very natural. Moreover, when we look at a universe that is only a fraction of the way through its evolutionary trajectory, it puts perspective on the Earth’s problems. I don’t want to portray a passive or irreverent attitude, but create perspective and emphasize how important JOY feels to me at this moment.

Life, without our nervous systems to experience it, would not be able to know itself as thoroughly as it does with humans in existence. I observe that animals do feel joy, but humans can create and process beauty. If this is true, is it not our “job” to create as much happiness as possible? Does this idea, not inspire you to prioritize happiness?

It took over 4 billion years for plants to grow and in less than 100 years humans have made aviation, space travel, and personal computing possible. Again, I am not trying to put humans on a pedestal, and honestly, it is quite sad what we have done to this planet in our brief stint. I am pointing out the possibility that evolution, nature, god, cosmic intelligence created us to reap the benefits of its 4.5 billion years of work. I think it is up to us to find the line between being angry because of what we’ve done/are doing and experiencing the deepest, most profound positive feelings we can.


Happiness, joy… Bliss?

I have been asking myself, what are the feelings I cherish most, as I believe it is those feelings that do the most justice to creation. Laughter and fun are good, but there is a subtle type of joy that comes for me in quiet moments, typically when I am by myself. This often comes when I am driving or in nature. This feeling is life experiencing itself, and perhaps consciously… It’s not obvious happiness, such as laughter or dancing, but simple things like seeing my breath in the air, morning cuddles with my son, and fly fishing. I want more of this…

How would your day change if your job was happiness?

How would your day to day change if your BIGGEST job was to be happy. In this context, there is what I have to do and there is what I can do from a bigger picture perspective.

I need to do things like pay bills and survive, but nature wants me to experience the deepest happiness I can so that it can feel itself through me in the deepest ways possible. I feel like life, nature, god, cosmic intelligence wants me to thrive even more than I myself want to thrive. This is abstract and difficult to explain, but it feels to me, that if I can get out of my own way, cosmic intelligence could actually support me more. Think: a bird doesn’t stress about its next meal, the planets don’t try to rotate around the sun with perfect precision…

If happiness was your labor/service (to the cosmos) than support and safety is the currency that is repaid. The thought is: the happier we are the more protected, safe and supported we are by this cosmic intelligence?

Cosmic perspective and its impact on daily life

At the time of writing this, I am 39 years of age. I feel like I have already lived a pretty full life, but this cosmic perspective is just silly… I am inspired.

  • Entire cosmos = ?
  • Earth = 4.5 Billion
  • Eric = 39

AND if you look at the Earth creation image at the very top of this page—what comes up for me is that I spend SO much time and energy on things that, in the grand scheme of things are pretty damn insignificant. I want to operate on more of this cosmic level than on the human level I am conditioned to operating from.

This morning’s insights, breakdown

  1. It is clear that humans have the greatest ability to experience joy (deepest emotions of love) on this planet.
  2. It is clear to me today that experiencing joy, wonder, awe, and love is the fruit of 4.5 B years of creation.
  3. It is clear to me today that I block myself from this out of fear, often spending all my time and energy on making money. Fear of survival.
  4. It is clear to me today that the desire to control myself and others is a total waste of energy and blocks me from joy.
    • I want to support others’ happiness as much as my own!
  5. When it comes to fear (for me things like health and money) know that we have 4.5 billion years of cosmic intelligence supporting us. Life wants us to thrive probably more than we want to ourselves.

Incidentally, when I was taking my son to school this morning I saw a bumper sticker that read, “What if doing the hokey pokey IS what it is all about?” HA! TOTALLY!

What does all of this have to do with catching trout?

I often think about the selfish nature of the “ripping lips” culture. I am getting joy from making another being suffer. I “win” by presenting a basic need (food) to a being, and tricking it to think it’s real. Then, I surprise the fish with a razor-sharp hook through the lip. Oh yeah, and the better a fish fights the more joy I get. So yep, I have definitely judged myself about this.

With today’s perspective taken into consideration. Catching trout is not only my joy, but it is also the joy of all of creation. If being on the water, hunting trout is what offers this experience of joy, I think that it is completely special and important to do.

Human Responsibility

With that said yesterday I saw this picture on Facebook. Right now in North Carolina, where I live is Delayed Harvest season. Not only is taking all these trout illegal, but it is also unsustainable behavior.

It is our responsibility to put “joy” in check.

At the time of writing this, there is 7.8 Billion people on the planet (360k births today and counting). It is pretty mind-blowing to think about the direct and indirect effect that the human population is having on this planet. Our air quality, ocean life, ecosystems, biodiversity, etc are all being impacted by the sheer volume of people and how we are living.

Fact: we have significant environmental issues that human life has caused and is causing. It is sad to me that humans are destroying—in a couple of thousand years, something that took billions of years to form.

Questions to ponder:

  1. How can we enjoy our time maximally?
  2. How can we preserve this experience for time to come?

It is clear we need to find a balance between experiencing joy and behaving in responsible ways. These two behaviors do not have to oppose each other. The individual is the base unit of society—it starts with us. I need to make better decisions as an individual and be more active in creating more balance in my community, country, and world.

But yeah.. can’t forget the JOY!

Wishing YOU peace and joy in 2020,


Additional Resources:

After talking to a friend about this blog post he informed me of an amazing 30-minute video on Youtube called, “LIFE BEYOND: Chapter 1. Alien life, deep time, and our place in cosmic history (4K).” If you are interested in the more cosmic nature of this post feel free to check it out below.

Photo of author
Eric is a father, husband, fly fishing guide and the founder of Anchor Fly. When he is not guiding he is likely tying flies or working on this website. His goal for Anchor Fly is to use it as a platform to help make the sport of fly fishing better off than when he came to it!

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