Mother's Day last weekend got me thinking about the future of the human race and how lucky we are to be alive.
Like, literally, it's a cosmic lottery.
Such heady thoughts probably had something to do with a book I'm reading at the moment about evolution and the forces that shape who we mate with.
It may also have had something to do with having to organise a Mother's Day picnic.
Nothing brings into focus the marvel of existence more than gathering the family gene pool together. According to my book, it's a probability lucky dip we collide at all, genetically speaking.
The same thing seems to apply to arranging a Mother's Day picnic. Modern families are a busy universe and attemps to co-ordinate them call into question the concept of intelligent design, mainly of the organiser.
That it all comes together on the day can seem quite the miracle, from an evolutionary perspective. Some might prefer to view at it as a thing of wonder. As in, "I wonder where we're going for this picnic?"
That seemed to be a hot topic in the car as we headed out to an untested bush picnic location. Always a gamble, right? Mother, child, daughter, grand-daughter, nan, mother-in-law, favourite son-in-law. (There was only four of us, actually.)
Along winding roads that threatened to take us into the heart of darkness. Or the hills of the Central Coast, as the case may be. With cloud overhead and a questionable salad dressing in the esky.
But things turned out all right. As indicated by the picnic table we scored when we got there. And a park toilet which proved not too abominable, by park toilet standards.
A low bar, I know, but like I said, we made it and it got me thinking "how?"
Google Maps played a major role in the short term, but what of those cosmic mechanisms that really bring families together over generations. Laws of attraction, selection, overcompensation. Often deeply subconscious, sometimes seemingly illogical, often quite surprising. Yep, sounds like family life to me.
Heady stuff to be contemplating over lunch, but according to my book, having a tendency to waffle on may well have proved pivotal in my selection as a mate. Like most things in evolutionary biology, who knows?
Along with perhaps the ability to put food on the table. In this case, a picnic table. With a tablecloth for once! Who'd have seen that coming during the early courtship phase way back when. All those messy ritualistic dancing displays. Often mistaken for epilepsy. To win the attention of a potential mate, sometimes you've got to shake things up. Disturbingly. My book refers to it as survival of the fittest. Hmm.
Not that you have to be fit to survive. We were sucking 'em in after the pre-lunch walk to the waterfall. But we survived that too and eventually enjoyed a lovely Mother's Day lunch with the beautiful people who make up my immediate family tree. And going out on a limb I'd conclude the future of this branch of the human race looks mighty fine. Although I could be biased.