The unknown universe

When I was first studying archaeology I was presented with the idea of an “unknown universe.”

To an archaeologist it means we don’t know what’s out there on the site. We don’t know what we’ll find. We all have our stories about this. There are sites that everyone was sure would yield nothing but dead grass and a few old beer bottles where we found an amazing array of artifacts and signs of past habitation. There are sites we simply couldn’t wait to survey where there was absolutely nothing, archaeologically speaking. Empty.

It’s easy to say life is an unknown universe. Life is beautiful, weird, and puzzling. Amazing, devastating, astonishing, delightful. It’s exquisite. It holds everything that’s sacred.

I used to say, and a friend just said, the wheel turns. She caused me to think about the turns in my life. What a ride, my life. And I hope for a few more turns, for sure. Sometimes you’re on the top, exultant. And sometimes you’re not. Sometimes the damn thing is dragging you through the muck, it seems endlessly. This too shall pass. Stay open. Unexpected discoveries are everywhere.

Still, I try to settle into a sense of balance. I’m not too good at this too shall pass. I like to think all shall be well, but I’m dicey with that too. Staying open, I handle that a little better.  The unknown universe. When I began working as an archaeologist I understood the expression more and more, as time passed and I gained experience. After a while that expression took hold in me and didn’t seem as overstated as it had to me as a student. It just became the way it was out there, or even in the microscope in some of the work I did. After the last several years, it is one way I can look at my life. It doesn’t seem at all too extravagant to say that about life.

I propose a toast. To the unknown universe.

Unknown universe at dawn.

Unknown universe at dawn.


About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
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