by Chet Raymo
"We have two regular visitors to our yard, a hummingbird and a heron. We sit on the screened porch and watch them.
As different as electricity and molasses. Yet related. A common ancestor. In my mind's eye I follow their shared avian DNA back in time, tens of millions of years. The hummingbird and the heron.
And deeper still, to that branching in the family tree of life where our own lineage and that of Aves intersect. I think of the Jesuit scientist/mystic Teilhard de Chardin: "We humans cannot see ourselves completely except as part of humanity, humanity as part of life, and life as part of the universe." And I whisper with my microbiologist friend Ursula Goodenough: "Hosannah! Not in the highest, but right here, right now, this."