If you were to stand at the foot of Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee, a lineup of your forefathers would barely reach Tootsie's Orchid Lounge before they forgot how to farm. We are fashionably late to this biological party, you and me.
Let me explain: imagine you are overlooking the Cumberland River, a child's little fingers in one hand, your dad's firm grip in the other. Now, your father is in turn holding your grandfather's hand who likewise is holding his own father's hand, your great-grandfather. Continuing this familial pattern your lineage would reach back to the time of Jesus before it stretched just one block (250 feet, 2,000 yrs.) to the Hard Rock Cafe. By the time your ancestors were looking up at the "Batman Building" from 3rd Ave (550 feet, 4,500 yrs.) they would be without iron or written history. And further still, your distant ascendants standing at the end of Honky Tonk Row in front of Bridgestone Arena (1,400 feet, 10,000 yrs.) would be Paleolithic hunter-gatherers wielding stone weapons and tools. As Homo sapiens our bloodline is surprisingly short. Late comers indeed.
Whenever I dwell on this concept, that our appearance on the cosmic stage has been so terrifically recent, it leaves me flush with gratitude to be here at all. But more than that, it gives me a sort of awed optimism, because if we have gone from learning the secret of seeds to standing on the moon's dust in less than a quarter of a mile, what wonders will be accomplished by the child whose hand is in mine? Or the one whose hand they have yet to hold?