Wednesday, May 3, 2006

The Last Straw

"It cannot be accidental, one is tempted to conclude, that the percentage of salt in our bloodstreams is roughly the same as the percentage of salt in the oceans of the world. The long and intricate process by which evolution helped to shape the complex interrelationship of all living and nonliving things may be explicable in purely scientific terms, but the simple fact of the living world and our place on it evokes awe, wonder, a sense of mystery—a spiritual response when one reflects on its deeper meaning."

– Al "Gaia" Gore, Sanity in the Balance, p. 264.

One is tempted to conclude; and in the very next sentence, one does conclude. And what "spiritual" response is evoked by our "living world?"

I imagine Gore sitting in a grove, legs crossed, eyes closed, communing with nature, listening to the voices of the trees as they sough through the branches and undergrowth; perhaps worshipping the bluebird as she sings. He utters the occasional, mystical, oh-so-meaningful "Ohhhhhhmmmmmmm," as he becomes one with Mother Earth, the dust between his toes, the little earthworms corkscrewing through the dirt beneath him, and the universe at large. He revels in how we all are brine of the ocean, as much cousins of octopi and plankton and diatoms as we are of the holy ape in his alpine abode. He ponders the great Circle of Life, and smiles in wonder at the deep, underlying meaning found in The Lion King.

With the sun beating gloriously into his beatific face, he breaks his fast with a vegan lunch, praying to the Earth Goddess over each tender shoot and glistening leaf, offering thanksgiving to the plants who bravely sacrificed their lives for his nourishment.

And then a nightmarish sound intrudes upon his solace: the chugging of a diesel engine as it charges up the road nearby, transporting human bacteria to their next point of infestation. A shudder runs up his spine and goosepimples his arms. He hears the trees hacking and choking from the noxious fumes flatulating out of the behemoth's tailpipe. He feels the ozone layer fracture even further, and his brain bubbles under the sun's hellish glare. The bluebird lies gasping on her perch, a victim of toxic emissions and global warming that grows exponentially worse by the minute.

A wave of nausea roils over him, and he loses his lunch there on the pristine sward, the mere thought of humans in their billions gang-raping the fertile land making his stomach flip-flop.

He stumbles--au naturel, of course--to the vile roadway, the scurrilous pavement biting into the Earth's delicate crust, and screams obscenities at the passing motorists.

Gasping for breath, a pendulum of drool depending from his bottom lip, he leaps into his SUV and gives chase.

He'll show them what it's like to live in fear of imminent death; he'll teach them how the caribou in ANWR feel about their diminishing lands and resources; he'll tutor them in the pain experienced by an evergreen felled during winter solstice, decorated gaudily, its corpse displayed in the den for all to see, like a trophy of war.

He grins maniacally at the vial of ebola lying in the passenger seat beside him. In time, they will understand and thank him--those few who remain. After all, Mother Earth must replenish herself, and she cannot accomplish this task without the excision of the human parasite.

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