Old beyond his power to grasp

The explanation would never have been accepted by, and would probably never have occurred to anyone two centuries ago. Like all the explanations offered by geology today, it assumes vast stretches of time and assumes that the earth has existed for very much longer than anyone formerly dreamed it had. The belief that its age was measured in a few thousands, not in many millions of years, was supported by the Biblical story. But even without that, the assumption was almost inevitable to a creature who instinctively measures things on a scale related to his own experience. It just didn't seem probable that anything had endured so much longer than man or the history he knew. Yet the existence of the Goosenecks and the Canyon—for which no credible explanation not involving millions of years is discoverable—is just one of the many kinds of things which gradually forced upon the human mind the intellectual conviction that the mountains, plains, and rivers among which man passes his brief life are old beyond his power to grasp, and make demands on his imagination that it can hardly compass.

—Joseph Wood Krutch. "Water doesn't run uphill." The Grand Canyon: Today and All Its Yesterdays.

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