Friday, January 18, 2008

The Sky for a Bag of Gold

The ship rocks beneath my feet, as unnoticed as the beating of my heart. The ice stretches out between our ship and the cliffs rising in the distance, and I understand the power of the ice, the fragility of life. Land I can see, but not reach. Not even our powerful ship cannot breach that ice. We know this. We try, of course we try. Is that not the nature of humanity?

Silently my heart breaks with the ice. Why can we leave nothing as we find it? I wonder if the penguins perched on the edge of the ice will have to swim farther now to find food and then to return to safety. By our actions, have we killed another adéile or given a chance at life to a leopard seal?

The ice doesn’t care if penguins die, if seals live, if we reached our destination or not. It doesn’t care if we stay and wait, or leave. The earth doesn’t judge or forgive, she accepts.

I am ashamed for my people.

We charge the unbroken white, the only protests the creaking of our ship and the groan strangled in my throat. The ice halts our progress. The sun beats down, an ally to our cause, but even the sun cannot win our way. Not that day. But give her time. We turn and seek another path.

As we burn ozone in exchange for extravagant lives and trade gold for atmosphere, the sun gains power, the earth shudders, the ice weakens. Will our ally become our enemy? Will nature ever protest at how we impinge on her good will?

She lovingly gives in to our indulgences. She changes for us. She will change for us until we can no longer live and breathe her acceptance and her patience. Will she cry for us? Why should she? Having given us everything we asked, what has the earth to regret? What have we to regret but that we trade the sky for a bag of gold?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kate, Your writing is maturing to a phase of greatness. ... Looking forward to a breakfast when ever it shall be