Living as I do within 100 miles or so of Yellowstone National Park, its geological instability is very present to me.
Loosely speaking, the volcano upon which Yellowstone sits erupts—on average—every 640,000 years. The last such megaexplosion was…just about 640,000 years ago. Statistically, we can expect another such megaexplosion any time now.
Geologically speaking, “any time now” covers a lot of temporal territory in human terms. Nonetheless, many scientists are spending a lot of time trying to understand the dynamics of the region, noting (with significant understatement) that the floor of Yellowstone Lake “breathes” significantly, and over the past few years has risen several millimeters per year.
When it does blow, there’s nothing (so far) that humans can do to stop it. I remember seeing an interview with a couple of residents of West Yellowstone—a small town right outside the boundaries of the park—saying, basically, it’s a beautiful place to live, and when the place does blow, they probably won’t ever know it, so why not just continue living in the beautiful area, and continue their lives as usual until then?
In the press of day-to-day events and too-frequent attendant stresses, it may be difficult to take such an attitude. But it does have more than a bit of appeal.
Questions: How do you deal with circumstances over which you have no control? How do you determine what in your life really is beyond your control, and over which ones you may have control? Why kind of control can you exert, in the latter case?