Submitted by Don Doman.
About two hundred miles north of Sandpoint, Idaho lies the tiny village of Field, British Columbia. You probably passed through Field if you ever drove to Lake Louise, a glacier-fed lake encircled by high peaks in Banff National Park. Nearby Field is located inside Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies. “Yoho” is the Cree word for “amazement.” Yoho National Park also offers fantastic scenic views, waterfalls plus it has vast Trilobite Beds.
Trilobites first appear in the fossil record about 521 million years ago. Most of the species went extinct about 400 million years ago. Millions and millions of trilobite fossils are found on the slopes of Mount Stephen . . . only three miles away from an even more astounding discovery . . . an outcropping of black shale.
Sedimentary rocks are formed by layers and layers of deposits of dirt, plants, and various sea creatures. These layers compress and harden on the sea floor before being pushed up and around by tectonic plates toward our planet’s surface. Although sedimentary rocks cover 75–80% of the Earth’s surface, they only represent 5% of the Earth’s crust. Shale is made of these layers. What’s wonderful about shale is that often it can been stripped down layer by layer revealing impressions of once living plants and animals. The black shale hear Field, British Columbia is called the Burgess Shale (discovered by palaeontologist Charles Walcott on 30 August 1909).
The Burgess Shale is a treasure trove of life and death. Most people think that the only time life went extinct on Earth is when the dinosaurs disappeared about seventy million years ago, but that’s wrong. The Burgess Shale is a historical record of repeated extinction and rebirth. “This sedimentary rock contains fossils from the Cambrian Era, more than 500 million years ago. These fossils, some of the oldest on earth, depict the first multicellular creatures on the planet.” (atlasobscura.com/places/yoho-national-park)
The fossils, which even show soft tissue, are different from present day life and not related to our composition. They are examples of world wide disasters followed by a flourish, a renaissance, a birth of new life.
Perhaps, a universal god is simply the life source . . . a basic chemistry that produces life at every opportunity. Life is a gift. I don’t know where the force comes from, but my guess is it operates throughout the universe and is perhaps the only reason for space and what fills it.
If life on Earth is a series of birth, death, and rebirth, as we see in The Burgess Shale historical evidence, then surely that gives us all hope. In our own lives, we suffer set backs, but life is a series of starts and stops, so as long as we are still here, surely we can continue to overcome any adversity or disaster.