Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Earth Coughed...

The earth coughed one evening. A loud, dry cough that went into a wheeze and which sounded as if its throat was tight and being squeezed. Throughout that long night, the earth gave irregular tremors as its coughing fits led its vast body to aggressively heave in its fight for a shallow breath.
The fresh winds could not cool its fevered surface and the pure seas could not clear the infection in earth's chest. And although the sun wrapped its warmth around earth's girth like a cosy blanket, earth still miserably shuddered and shivered. The symptoms of the disease were so erratic that in a single day any extremes of weather were possible: hot, dry, wet, wintry.
The skies over time darkened and there were monsoon-like rains and hurricanes as earth battled this illness and with it its vexation. A frustration that led to tears and rages; sullenness and childish tantrums. Thunder boomed and cracked, bolts of lightning streaked the sky; hailstones pelted and rivers burst their banks. The seas could be passive, then furious with little warning; the sun could blaze, then suddenly turn cold. The light could one minute be bright and the next a very dull grey. Getting through twenty-four hours was an supreme effort for stricken earth and its ill-fated inhabitants.
Earth was inhospitable, not liveable cried these mortals trying to go about their day. There was more road rage, more traffic accidents. More substance abuse, more domestic incidents. More bullying and belittling in the workplace. More brawls, lewd behaviour and cat-fights. A high rate of theft and knife crime. A wave of unconnected murders in unlinked towns and cities. More fractions broke off from society to protest, riot, strike, or form their own tight communities. The tension and dissatisfaction in the stale air constantly there, palpable.
All earth's creatures felt this strain. Cattle stopped producing milk or young, hens didn't lay, song birds lost their urge to sing, and foxes were tamed by this imbalance. Those beasts, considered tools of this world, were saddened. There were no green fields for them to graze in, no spring-like sunshine to frolic in, just barren plots and feed lots. Cramped quarters with food they were unused to and forced to eat.
Everything suffered more now that earth was sick.
Food prices were high, wages were low. Employment was irregular: unpredictable hours, casual contracts. And happiness was no longer an economic factor that could be measured, but all countries were at least equal. All faced the same problems until they each put different systems in place to combat them. Some grouped together and adopted a single currency; some introduced new benefits and taxes; and some failed to agree which led to mutiny. There was disparity between the masses. And in these uncertain times, people either opposed or rose together. Every life had its own hardships.
What earth had tried to contain had happened. Disharmony had spread. Its illness was the precursor, not the origin. Successful governments had succeeded in penetrating its weakened climate and the disease had raised armies to attack; no defences could have held them back, and besides earth had exhausted any it had long ago. Fatigue had set in.
Overwhelmed by killer cells, earth was aggrieved and revengeful. In a stage of dying. In denial, the symptoms had been suppressed, ignored, fought through; then came depression with its fits of lethargy, crying and black moods; and finally as the disease ravaged its body it was assaulted by anger, which it poured on the population. They were the chief cause of its decay and should be made to bear witness to as well as feel it.
Pockets of change had come, but too late to affect the outcome. Earth stifled a yawn and accepted its fate, despite its population lagging far behind. They were too scared, too ignorant to recognise that this shift could not be undone, it had to happen. Earth knew it would be reborn, but not in what habitable state. It would be a new age, a new beginning.

Picture Credit: View of Toledo by El Greco