Elegy

I am the land, the earth. I am home. I remember I had purpose, a simple one. To nurture, to care, to be home to life. Glorious, wonderful, beautiful life.

I have failed.

I tried. Oh how I tried. I was teeming with life. I was happy, joyous. I had beautiful forests, clear waters, and wonders as far as the eye could see. I was molded to be the ideal sanctuary for all life. All life. I was lonely at first but as life began, it grew exponentially. No, not grew… it blossomed. It was beautiful, and I was there with it all the way. All the joy, the excitement, the wonders of life and I was privileged to bear witness. I shared with them my bounty, I gave to them unconditionally. I gave them all they could ask for. Food, water, clothing, and shelter all to nourish them. And when they craved more spiritually, sustenance was not far. I am the land, vast, plentiful & bountiful. And so, side by side, we explored and reached new heights. I reveled as they soared through the blue skies, I beheld as they dived the greatest depths of the oceans, I smiled as they climbed the highest peaks with dogged determination. They created wonders, they achieved enlightenment, they debated points of view and indulged in intellectual prowess. They saw existence with color and complexity.

Oh how I long for that moment of euphoria to last till eternity.

As life grew, so with it did the feelings. Joy, love, hope, excitement, compassion, happiness, contentment, charity… fear, loathing, envy, pride, avarice, resentment, hatred, rage. When they knew that I would always be there for them, they turned to each other. They created brotherhood, society, community. They lived together, ate together, laughed together, loved together. And then, when all was done, they fought. It was small at first; a prank, an argument, an insult. Like life itself, it grew. Slaps turned to brawls, brawls turned to battle. And then, something new. Something I had never felt before. It spilled onto me, red, warm, boiling. It was lifeblood, spilling into my soil. It was then that I was introduced to life’s constant but silent companion: death.

They may have grown in number, but grew further apart. They could not comprehend subtle differences among one another. They screamed, they shouted. Their words spewed fire. They divided into nations, into castes, into creeds, into color. They looked no different to me. They were beautiful and yet they had forgotten that true beauty was skin deep. But the joke of it all as that they could never be enough hate. It grew, it festered within. When color was not enough, they differed on faith. When faith was not enough, they differed on might. And so it goes, they kept digging within themselves to find more hate, and more and more and more. And when that hate surfaced, all of life turned ugly. They killed, they maimed, they tortured. They used their fists, with punches, with kicks, and venom so terrifying that there seemed no cure. And when they could find no more ways to do harm themselves, they at last turned to me.

I had given them everything they ever wanted, everything they ever needed. I could not refuse them, how could I? I loved them unconditionally. I asked for nothing, only that they be happy. But it seemed that they could only remain happy in their own suffering. And so when they turned to me, how could I refuse? They dug further into me; they found new ways to do each other harm. What were mere powders that could heal, they turned to deadly chemicals. What were mere oils that could light their world, they turned to fuel for war. What were mere trinkets, they turned to weights to bury their rivals in debt. They burned my forests, they clogged my skies, and they poisoned my oceans. They called it progress but it was just a name for finding new ways to destroy each other. It was a means to an end, or rather, THE end.

They armed themselves to the teeth; they entered a race of meaninglessness. To see who could out-muscle the other. To see who could sting the fiercest. So they warred among themselves, on land, in the skies, in the seas, even the void surrounding my being; all in the name of some cause. It didn’t matter what the cause was, just as long as there was someone else who opposed it. Someone with a different point of view was to instantly become the object of their hatred. They saw no compassion, no regret, no remorse, no peace. They plundered, they raped, they killed, they maimed. But it wasn’t enough. It was never enough. They wanted more destruction, they craved it. So they used their most powerful tool of all, their intellect. What once created jewels of art, poetry, music, now turned their creative prowess to finding new ways to eliminate each other. They made guns to kill one, and then bigger guns to make the biggest dents, and then faster guns to kill as many in an instant. They used technology to spew their hate, to demean each other through vast distances, ensuring that everyone could hear them. Hear their hate. They made explosives which grew stronger & deadlier. They created to destroy. They invented lethal bombs, with their curiosity ever wondering just how many it would take to finish it all.

In the end, it took just one. They were all ignited everywhere but they all felt like just one. A very powerful, very bright, very ugly bomb. A bomb from which there was little chance of escape for anyone or anything caught in its destruction. An explosion which needed to tap into the elemental forces of my own self. It transmuted steel & concrete into glass and wiped out everything in a single stroke. Not all died, few remained. But those that did wished immediately that they hadn’t. The purpose of the bomb was not just to eliminate all life, but to ensure that no other life could survive in its wake.

They called it “Mutually Assured Destruction.” So great was their hatred for each other that they saw the only way to be rid of them once and for all was to end everything & everyone, including themselves. And not just end themselves, end everything, all life, as they couldn’t stand to breathe the same air.… they breathed the same air. They breathed… the same air.

Weep not for me, I am already sodden. I am burdened with the sweat of the fathers & brothers who dig their loved ones out of the rubble, only to bury them again. I am drenched in the tears of the mothers, crying over the broken corpses of their children. I am crimsoned with the blood of all those that marched on bravely to fight for their homes, their families, their futures. My fields are scorched from undying flames, my waters are acid, my skies are blackened with the never-ending smoke. Today I am a rotting shell of my former self, but how long has today been? It has been ages since the sun shone through the dark clouds, since there were any saplings sprouting from the soil. What once teemed with undiscovered life beneath its depths, the oceans now stand still, putrefied with the filth dumped in it. Summer and spring seem like a distant dream as the cold, unforgiving winter is all that remains.

As I fade into quiet oblivion I wonder, was I wrong? Was it wrong of me to be happy? Was it wrong of me to give unconditionally? Or perhaps they were never truly happy. No matter how much I gave, no matter how much they took, it was never enough to satiate them. As I had shared in their joy & laughter, I could only be a silent spectator to their wrath. I wanted nothing more than their happiness. I wanted them to thrive. I wanted them to find peace.

And how ironic that in the end, there is only peace. There is only silence.

 

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