My daughter in law just gave birth to a little girl.
Her name is Ruby.
The other night I was holding Ruby and thinking, she will probably be alive during the first quarter of the twenty second century.
All told, there will be five centuries of connection between the two of us.
For my part, as a five year old I met my grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather was born around 1863 in Denmark.
As for Ruby, some time in the twenty second century, she’ll probably hold an infant granddaughter in her arms, who, in turn, will live into the twenty third century.
There Ruby and I sat looking at each other. Half a millennium between us. Five hundred years of connection.
Within that five hundred years, who will have or will have had the greatest moments of history visit them?
Looking backwards, my grandparents migrated from Denmark to America in 1873 when my grandfather was ten years old. Denmark was in the midst of a great period of intellectual, economic, and agricultural enlightenment. Life was opening up for Danes at all levels of society.
However, my grandparents and their parents decided to meet the call from Brigham Young, and migrate to Utah and participate in helping to establish the new theo/democratic civilization centered in the Great Basin Kingdom of the Wild West of the United States of America.
Either direction, staying or leaving, life was going to be exciting and fulfilling for my grandparents.
For my part, I was born at the tail end of WW2, a few days short of 1945, and the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan. I lived through the Cold War, and the possibility of nuclear war with Russia.
It was also a time of post war energy and optimism. Thanks in part to free education, parental support, and employer grants, I was able to attain a level of education that resulted in economic opportunities I could only barely imagine. In America, everything seemed possible in my growing up years.
My granddaughter will live through the deep challenges of global warming, perhaps the most serious period of time in human history. She will witness and probably be a part of the greatest marshaling of human ingenuity to clear the air of poisonous toxins, cool the weather in order to retain the ability to grow crops and preserve the water supply from being cooked to sand.
Ruby may live in a time when humans exercise more collective moral responsibility for good than at any other time in human history. Ruby will more than likely experience the second great renaissance of accomplishment. What can be more beautiful than a healthy environment brought about by human ingenuity and creativity?
And what of Ruby’s granddaughter, who will live during the twenty third century, some two hundred years from now? It will probably be time to bid goodbye to those pioneers who will leave Mother Earth never to return. They will voyage to Mars and there give birth to the very first martians. From that point, a new species will evolve, adapted to life in the stars.
Will Ruby’s granddaughter be part of that exodus? It’s unknowable at this point, but be assured that this little girl will witness the beginning of the great unthinkable: worlds without end.