we are all islands

As we speed east along the chain, each occasional island looks perfectly inlaid into the blue enamel of the sea below, like a piece in a sacred mosaic. Yet each seems to float. It's hard to fully comprehend that these are just the tips of an enormous mountain range, grown from a seafloor thousands of feet below. Anne Morrow Lindbergh responded to the idea that no one is an island by saying, "I feel we are all islands- in a common sea." That is an appealing refinement of the idea, but there is something else deeper. Perhaps we only seem like islands because all our shared underpinnings, which have brought us up and hold us into the sunlight, lie unseen below the surface. Now and then we think we might detect submerged connections by a whiff of something familiar, by an upwelling of memory or empathy or the urge to show kindness to another creature, like a visible pattern of ripples at the surface caused by something lying far below. The rock-hard ties to all these other islands-- human and nonhuman, current and past-- lie out of sight, deep in time, massively holding together all our fragile little islands, yet barely recognized and seldom acknowledged. What a different view of life we would have if we mapped our islands not by their perimeter as seen from the surface, but by their profile and foundation, showing always the roots and connections within the shared mountain chain. Could we not recognize ourselves as part of the same chain of life, originated from the same hot spot? Are we not little kindred isles adrift a sea of time, on a conveyor of space? We are born. We have our adventures. And we are sucked back in, to be reintegrated, recast in the continuing saga of our singular island home afloat the oceanic universe. 

-Carl Safina, Eye of the Albatross