My Turn: A parable for the earth

  • Top view thirties retro writers desk with typewriter on old wooden background table top. mactrunk

Published: 9/21/2021 2:04:36 PM

Long after the beginning of time, the Great Mother birthed children and gave them many magical gifts. She gave them a beautiful blue marble floating in the vastness of space, circling around a great warm ball of fire. Upon this blue marble, She gave her children the seas, abundant with fish and other creatures. She gave them the air, carefully designed to stay within the limits of heat and cold so life could flourish. She gave them the land and over eons of time shaped it into the land masses we call continents, while sprinkling many thousands of land forms in the sea. Upon the land, She gave her children mountains and valleys, vast plains and forests, flowers and vegetation. She gave them animal companions, some that walked on the land and others that flew and nested in trees. She gave them fire, the same fire that fuels the Sun, so they could stay warm at night and learn to cook food.

Far inside the blue marble, the Great Mother placed two fiery cores to keep it all in balance. The inner core, the size of our Moon, is solid iron and gets hotter than the surface of the Sun, while the outer core is a molten sea of metal only slightly cooler than the inner core. The Great Mother thus created a shield that protects her children from solar radiation and cosmic rays from deep space, a shield without which her children could not survive. This is just one of the many ways that the Great Mother, who was in no hurry, took billions of years to make the blue marble habitable for her children. She even paused and restarted her work five times, perfecting a world in balance where her children could survive. We call these moments of pausing and restarting the Five Great Extinctions.

When the Great Mother’s billion years of work was done, she gave it all as a gift to her children. At first, they were reverent and respectful in caring for their gift. But in a comparatively short period of time, only moments in the great Clock of the Cosmos, the children of the Great Mother multiplied many times over. They became so accustomed to the Great Mother’s gift that they took it for granted. As they grew in number, they began to quarrel over the many gifts of the Earth. Eventually, some of the children of the Great Mother found that they could have power by selling her gifts to others, creating for themselves a new gift called “wealth” or “money.” They became even more wealthy by destroying the precious gifts of Earth and turning them into poisons, which were made to look like gifts but which sickened and killed large numbers of the Great Mother’s children, while sickening also Her most precious gifts, the land and the sea and the air.

As the Great Mother’s gifts became poisoned, many of Her children looked away. Even though the poisons made them ill, they were entranced by the shiny new objects that were provided to them by the wealthy and powerful — a new breed who had become Overlords. Only a small number of the Great Mother’s children raised their voices in warning about the illness that ravaged both Her children and the Great Mother’s many gifts. Finally, the Great Mother had seen enough! She could not let this continue.

The Great Mother raised her voice and spoke in the form of fire, flood, drought, famine, and finally a deadly virus that spread over the whole Earth. She considered that perhaps it was time for another Great Extinction. She waited to see if enough of her children would recognize what was happening to her beautiful forests, to her bountiful seas, to her fragrant air, to her millions of other species. She waited to see if they would act, but she would not wait forever. She would not let her gifts, nor the billions of her children who were not guilty, be poisoned and killed just so a small handful of the new race of Overlords could amass more and more wealth and power. The Great Mother grew more impatient every day.

Kevin McVeigh is a retired health care administrator and university professor who lives in Greenfield.

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