For days now I have imagined everything I see and love and admire, consumed by the sludge. The trees in the forest, the animals in the field, the birds in the air, drenched in a blackening murk. I even experience what it would be like to feel it penetrating my own lungs and filling me with its black death. The sadness of the mothers as they watch their young dying in the thickening waves. Their final desperate attempts to save them met in a fateful moment of resignation, as they themselves succumb to the suffocation.
This is an event that will redefine the destruction we are capable of. It only appears in the guise of Valdez, until even that tragedy is exceeded and eclipsed by times two and three and four. What was lifted from the seabed in desperation ahead of the approaching slick, will not be nurtured in those places for generations to come, if ever. Again there is an initial moment of normalcy to be contended with; from here we move forward diminished, with the spirit of the world weakened. On the far side of this catastrophe, the entire universe will have changed. The sacred estuaries of the earth poisoned and sickened and corrupted with greed and contempt. No more will humans be nourished by those exquisite organisms.
The value of life is also to be recalculated once more. We watched as the brown corpses of humanity were scooped like rigid figurines by hydraulic buckets into the cold and unyielding steel of industry. What else could have been done? Their numbers overwhelmed the beleaguered inhabitants of that land, the time for reverent handling of loved ones--the compassionate caress--had passed, it was replaced with the stiff fingers of necessity. A new age had dawned in the aftermath of that event, just as it has in this one, and we are left with the same grim calculus of reason. Were it that we all could weep in unison, and wash the crumpled corpses before they were laid to rest. Maybe then too we could cleanse the feathers of the beautiful birds we have so mercilessly coated in the thin film of our arrogance. Let it be understood that not only did we fail to weep sufficiently, but that our consumption continued unabated.
There is so little that can stop us now, we may have passed into and out of too many new worlds. We have deluded ourselves into believing that the technological illusion into which we have migrated today is in any way comparable to the gloriously rich and infinitely mysterious world that has evolved us. Just as our minds allowed us once to consider the environment we created in our homes to be comparable to the ecology of the earth, so now we see the luminous web of technology as a meaningful alternative to the sacred web of life. It is at the expense of the only world that has any meaning or value at all, that we build these galaxies of artifice. When we have decimated the earth that has nurtured and enabled us, when we have so diminished and vanquished its elegant inhabitants, the lights and sounds of our invented reality will flicker and the echoing sound of utter failure and collapse will finally reach our ears.
Today I was able to walk directly up to a noble swallow, and invite the little creature to inhabit the cedar box that I had recently placed above a post on which I hung the gate to my pig yard this year. I had a couple of weeks ago found this old wooden home lying out among the limbs and branches left by the winds of winter. After I cleaned it out thoroughly and tested its integrity I lifted it into the air in the hope that a returning swallow would find it suited to the sacred undertaking of its existence. Today that hope and action were met by the wise black eyes of this diminutive beast, and I am happy to report that after I extended the invitation, the swallow gently leapt from the iron post that it was perched upon, and flew to the top of its tiny new home. It is in this immediate and sincere interaction with the world that I redeem myself from the growing tragedy of human existence.