Just caught an interview on CBC with Professor Lonnie Thompson. He's a paleoclimatologist, working in the Himalayas, Andes and up Mt. Kilamanjaro drilling ice cores, and transporting them by yak, providing incontrovertible proof of climate change. He has spent more time above 18,000 ft than anyone in the world.
And in 2012 he took three weeks off to have a heart transplant. Actually, that is glib as he had been ill for months, but he was back at work three weeks after his op. And he is hoping to be up to a further expedition to China.
But what really stunned me was his description of two episodes where he felt he left his body and each time went to the same place which he described as a beautiful meadow with a stream. A lovely place, he said, where he somehow knew things he didn't know before. The second time there was a figure in white who said, “Lonnie, it's not your time. You have other work to do.” At which he jumped back into his body.
His description ties in with the words of a dying friend some years ago. “It's so beautiful,” she told my mother. “It all makes sense.”
He spoke of a unifying life force, how we are all connected and that this life force doesn't die with us. He also stressed that the force needs the earth. “If we destroy the earth, we destroy heaven too.”
This is what I have always believed, that stripped of the story of religion, there is a life force thrusting evolution. Is it love? As I try to make muddled sense of it all, I keep coming back to the same premise. That in the beginning was the Word, an idea, a possibility, which needs us to make it manifest. His experience gives gravitas to my stumbling thoughts.
A Climate Scientisr Battles Time and Mortality – New York Times.