Life's Fall

How many years can a mountain exist,
before it is washed to the sea?

As a rock tumbles from its perch
atop a cliff into the water below,
impelled by gravitational acceleration,
it is potential transformed to kinetic,
object to process, noun to verb.
This crumbling topology
is the metaphoric substance of life - 
mountains thrust up
by Earth’s violent bowel
laboriously digesting its nickel/iron core
and ground down by wind and rain,
warped by spacetime - the ephemeral
thermodynamic erosion
of elevated electrons.

Biological water mills
capture density-dependent flow,
energy to turn their wheels
and grind our biochemical grist.
It is the story told by a lepton,
sailing from glucose to H2O –
neither the providence
nor the destination,
but the journey itself.
Life exacts a tax from the inorganic
to support an extravagant
tangential trip.  All players
will find their entropic end
more quickly and with less resistance.

If the fiery heart of our world were extinguished –
exhaling a tectonic death rattle –
and the syrupy flow of Earth’s mantel ceased,
then gravity’s inexorable force would pound
the planet to a perfect orb,
unmarred by topographical blemish.
Life profits from plummeting particles,
helping to dislodge them,
hastening its own demise.
We drink our energetic nectar,
and level the universe across space and time.
By corroding the very gradients
that sustain us, we polish the cosmos
to cold, flat death -
no place
to fall.

-for Bob Dylan and Erwin Schrödigner