The Ephemeral Present
Created as a moment for contemplation on humans' effects on the earth and the infinitely complex relationship between cause and effect.
"The Ephemeral Present" refers to both the invaluable gift of human life and to the transience of humanity.
The composition was inspired by Sharon Olds's Poem "Ode to Dirt," and first appeared in Odes, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2016, and is reprinted with the permission and thanks of the poet:
Dear dirt, I am sorry I slighted you,
I thought that you were only the background
for the leading characters—the plants
and animals and human animals.
It’s as if I had loved only the stars
and not the sky which gave them space
in which to shine. Subtle, various,
sensitive, you are the skin of our terrain,
you’re our democracy. When I understood
I had never honored you as a living
equal, I was ashamed of myself,
as if I had not recognized
a character who looked so different from me,
but now I can see us all, made of the
same basic materials—
cousins of that first exploding from nothing—
in our intricate equation together. O dirt,
help us find ways to serve your life,
you who have brought us forth, and fed us,
and who at the end will take us in
and rotate with us, and wobble, and orbit.