Long before the swallows disappeared a new bird came. Its head sat slightly askew and its eyes bulged a bit. More often than not it hobbled along the ground instead of taking flight. The noises it made were painful and rapid and there never seemed to be enough air in one single intake of breath. I touched one once and as I did its feathers slid off its body as if they had just been laid against its skin never tethered. Most of the time I saw these birds hobbling along the beach, I think, in search of fish to dine on. But, the fish had long since disappeared replaced by scary mutant sea life if you could call them life at all. Seems as if the radiation from the nuclear plant leak so far east of our shores had finally decimated what was once so pure. Would people be next? You had to consider the possibility. When the truth was hidden for so long as to the damaging amounts of radiated water and chemicals that were released into the sea it would only be common sense to think that somewhere inside the body bad things were already occurring even if we couldn’t actually see it. That’s the thing about reality. Just because you can’t see a truth doesn’t make the truth any less true. Nor, does it make ignorance of truth any less damaging. It’s better, I think, to know. Because, we’ve known for decades that radiation maims and kills.
I walk here often. Years back, I walked to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature knowing that this was the place I could relax and gather my thoughts. Now, it’s marked with death, and the sights and sounds are a painful reminder of a time when men didn’t care. I receive comfort from time to time knowing that most of those men are gone, and I thank God that I am still here to ponder this though I know my time left is very short. Often, I wonder if a near time is coming when no one will be left to remember.
In a way, I’m fortunate to remember a time when men cared, yet the memory of the more recent time when they didn’t scars my memories. Then they cared about money. I think they would’ve eaten it if they could. It wasn’t just the gluttony but the pure devilish devotion to having more and more and more and more that astounds. In the end though, they couldn’t take it with them. And, their bodies afflicted with the diseases of their choices lie in coffins and shrouds there in that bitter ground decaying just as all the others, rich and poor, who had come before them. I often wonder if given a second chance would they live their lives differently.
Nuclear energy was supposed to be more cost-effective, cleaner, better for the environment and safe. For a time it was… until the accidents started happening. Meltdowns occurred when nuclear reactors overheated or became unstable. Once that happened it was hard to contain the waste and the hazardous materials left over. Most were bunkered in concrete to sit out time until they were no longer a threat. No one truly knew how long that would be regardless of what they would attempt to calculate. Nature felled others. The nuclear plant overseas was decimated by a Tsunami spilling massive amounts of deadly poisons into the waters mankind depended on for life. While the alarmist was speaking out, the men of power and control were cheerfully projecting only minimal damage. We all knew they were lying. We knew they were lying when the radiation levels rose. We knew they were lying when the sea life started dying and mutating. Little by little the news reports released a little more and a little more information on the impossibility of containment and effects but it was too late. It took years for the beginning of the truth to come out. But by then, we had eaten the fish. We had drunk the water. We had bathed in the water. We watered our lawns and planted our fields with the water. We went on.
By the time people realized the damage had trickled down through our DNA it was too late to correct the damaging changes. By the time the earth and the oceans had changed, there was no turning back. What will future generations think. More to the point, will there be future generations?
If there is will there be a fertile earth to support it? Or will there just be little shrieking, painful, hobbling birds, heads askew?
This is a story – fiction based on fact ©2015