Return to Nature: A Grim Fantasy

Let vines overtake us, claiming back everything we’ve destroyed.

Stay with me here, dear reader. 

            We’ve settled the earth with total abandon, claiming every corner of it for humanity. The fields, the forests, the jungles, the deserts, the tundra, the hills, the mountains, the valleys, the oceans, the rivers, the streams, the lakes, and the ponds – we’ve ruined all of them. For what? For money, plain and simple. What drives us isn’t the progress of humanity, it’s fortune. There’s no end in sight, no incentive for the rich to cease getting richer. What more do they need? 

            We’ve laid waste to the forests and trees, paving over them, leaving monuments to consumerism in their stead. The animals that live in the places we’ve rendered barren die out, their numbers dwindling daily. But still, the bottom line: profit, profit, profit.

            Human beings are the deadliest animals to ever live. The bear, the shark – none of these can match the destruction human beings have visited upon the earth. Quite literally every new place that humans arrived subsequently saw their animals hunted to extinction in short periods of time relative to how long the animals had lived uninhibited. Humans destroy, not exclusively, but by their nature, they destroy. And, I ask again, for what?

            But there’s a crack, and through the crack: a light. A pandemic afflicted humankind with suffering no one could avoid. People got sick, died, people lost jobs, and people were condemned to life indoors to help abate the spread of the dreaded disease. In our suffering and isolation, however, nature returned. Birds we’ve not seen in years returned to our backyards, forests, and parks. Squirrels are out in their numbers. Deer roam the streets, lost, but not in danger. Plants grow wildly, ever upward, ever wider.

            Nature is reclaiming the earth in our absence. We’ve taken so much with little concern for the consequences, we’ve run down nature’s gifts for profit. But now, dear reader, is nature’s time. 

If we let it happen:

            Trees will continue to grow skyward, leaving the forest floor a cool and shady home to all manner of creature. The creatures themselves will multiply, growing once again their numbers that have been dashed by humankind for centuries. Grass will grow over the sidewalks, reminding us to find our own way and not rely on existing paths. Deer will roam the streets in their numbers, graceful and gorgeous living symbols of peace and harmony. Roadways will be overcome by moss, leaves, dirt, and mud, while animals take up residence on our highways, no longer roads to guide from store to store. And won’t it all be beautiful without us?

            We as humans would benefit from taking a backseat for the first time in centuries. And lo, we will find that we aren’t the most important thing on the planet. Each living creature deserves its life and safety, there is no hierarchy for humans to be atop. Humans deserve to be put in their place after so many years of unchallenged selfishness. Our precious money is built on an imaginary system of our own devise, a system constantly teetering on the edge of collapse – were nature to take back control, that system of make-believe would crumble, and we would be better for it. 

            We don’t deserve the world as we use and abuse it now, all in the name of profit, always in the name of profit. Somehow, we’ve come to revere the rich, somehow, we’ve come to worship technology. But nature, dear reader, is all we really have when our money doesn’t matter and the shit hits the fan. Return to it, learn from it, but also, leave it be. 

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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