Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Pall Over The Land

There has been a pall over the land.

I live in Northern California where, for the past couple of weeks, hundreds of wildfires have been burning hillsides and forestlands in an effort to destroy anything that has taken root. All that is living, standing independently, or struggling to grow and survive, has become food for the voracious appetite of this inferno, fuel for its consuming energy and power. It has swept across this land like a bad disease, indiscriminately devouring everything of beauty, feeding on all that has quietly been formed through the patience of evolution, or fashioned knowingly by the skillful hand of man. The fire has had no regard for individuals or circumstance. It has gone wherever it has chosen to go, it has dominated and engulfed whatsoever it has wanted.

The smoke has been hanging in the air like fog, causing eyes to water, lungs to burn, breath to quicken. People have taken refuge inside their homes, windows closed, air purifiers humming like an incessant chant for mercy to the gods of our own making, or imagining. I have felt an inordinate measure of claustrophobia, an increasing sense of things getting out of control. Something about the environment closing in around me, covering my skin with the ashes of its own death, clothing me in a paupers coat that cannot be washed, or even taken off or traded in.

But I have been feeling this way even before the fires began. Something about the devastation of my country, the erosion of my freedom, the myriad of laws and taxes that continue to be enacted for my own protection, to save me from the likes of myself, to save me from my own way of thinking, to protect me from the evil independence of my past. Something about the social engineering that is taking root beneath my feet, the government, and the courts, defining for me what is in my own best interest, and who and what I must bend over and pay homage to. Something about the herd, the sheep in men’s clothing masquerading as liberated followers of a cultural revolution. Would ‘liberated follower’ qualify as the ultimate oxymoron, or am I just being difficult again? Something about the politicians, on the one hand pretending to be my friend, and on the other hand sleeping with my wife, stealing my chickens, poisoning my dog and kissing the ass of my enemy. Something about the bad becoming the good, the good becoming the reviled, the deviant becoming the norm, the norm becoming the socially and spiritually marginalized.

But y’know what?
“I know what’s right, and I know what’s wrong. I don’t confuse it.”

This wildfire continues to rage out of control, casting a pall over the land,
even though a myriad of brave men and women fight, day and night, to prevent the rest of us
from becoming victims of its sinister intent.