I like to think that the early cavemen who left their handprints on cold cavern walls were doing the same thing a bored middle schooler does when they doodle a penis on their desk in class. They are both, primitively, saying, "I am here."
I am here. Therein, perhaps, is the origin of all human art. A need to make our mark, to defy the arrows of time. We know in every minute that we will perish into dust after this interlude of being between the chasms of dark—but can we forestall the erasure? Can we leave a faint trace so the record of our having been here is extended by just a fraction of another second in the scheme of things?
Can we stop time?
We can't, of course we can't. This is the joke and the tragedy and the heartache of it all. Try as we might, our fingers grasp at wind. And then they become wind, air, stardust once again. But we can bellow out a big hello from the peak of a cliff and rejoice in the echoes. Or whisper it to the moon at night to hear our own breath pierce the quiet. We can etch it into stone with mud, paper with ink, try to outrun the clock because we have no choice: we are mortal creatures with immortal longing, denying this punchline all the while. We are being ushered behind the curtains in a single file but we never want the play to end.
Because the stage is all drama and peril but at least the spotlights bathe us in a faint trickle of warmth and the eyes of other people watching let us know that we exist. That we are, and that we are here.