Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Dropping Like Flies

by Maggie Manning

Is it just me or does spring come earlier each year? We live in the country and so, perhaps, the signs are clearer, but still. Who can fail to notice that the temperature hasn't fallen below zero for several winters now? Can others still remember when - not that long ago - we would occasionally have a light snowfall in early May? Does anyone still tell that tired joke about the seasons here: that we have two of ‘em, winter and the fourth of July? What the hell is going on?

Of course, we know what's going on. We just choose not to acknowledge it. If we keep our heads buried in the sand - watching the ironically labeled "reality TV," staring at Facebook for hours on end, spending like there's no tomorrow - well, then, we don't have time to take up the issue of our survival as a species.

Does the expression "fiddling while Rome burns" mean anything anymore? I don't want to be a downer, but hey, folks, it's the only world we've got! And no, my name isn't Cassandra; I just can't help but pay attention to signs of imminent doom. I seem unable to distract myself from the evidence all around me. You know: the shorter winters, the lack of Artic icepack, the dying animals, the displaced populations, the strange and extreme weather. I wish it weren't so, but reality sucks. Let's face it: We're on a runaway train to oblivion and no one's in the engine room. The guy in the caboose is madly waving a red flag - danger, danger! - but no one can see him. Or, if they do, they choose to ignore him.

The flies are dropping on the dining room table, lured out of hibernation by the early-March warmth, and we're not far behind. Can you say "apocalypse now"? Will we wake up before it's too late? Perhaps it already is. We have learned to live separate from and oblivious to the natural world, and so have sealed our fate. I remember reading a commentary in a local paper one particularly rainy spring: Maybe it's good for the farmers, the letter writer wrote, but I hate it! Hmmm. I wonder who's growing the food he eats. I wonder if he drinks water to stay alive. Are we that far from the very source of life? In just a couple of generations, do we live life at such a disconnect that we don't even know what we need to keep us alive?

I'm afraid we do and so we will continue to extinguish the earth that sustains us. Although those of us living lives of privilege in the Western world are most culpable, we're all in this together and we'll all go down together. All of us who drive, who use electricity, who buy cheap food grown through the miracles of pesticides and irrigation; all who, that is, use up the earth's finite resources - all of us are responsible. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Maggie Manning is the pen name of a writer living in Geneseo, NY.

Twenty-second Flash

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