Friday, 12 March 2010

The Girl



As much as I write and give talks about the future, I don’t talk about it with The Girl. I try to pass on skills she might find useful, but too much information at this age would be at best incomprehensible.

She does seem to absorb ideas from somewhere, though. Last night she declared that she was Super-girl – a name I think she made up on her own; I don’t think she’s ever even heard of Superman – and said she was on a mission to the Destroyed Places.

What are the Destroyed Places? I asked.

“They are the places where all the animals and trees have died, and the air smells bad, and there are dangerous beasts! There aren’t even any insects, and everything else needs insects!”

I accepted the dream logic, but wondered if she had been exposed to something too dark. No, it seemed to be just an adventure setting.

You’re right, everything else needs insects, I said. What can we do?

“We have to plant seeds there, so things will grow again ...” she said, “Oh no! There aren’t enough seeds – it will never become Undestroyed!”

I’ve got an idea, Supergirl, I said. What happens when seeds grow into grownup plants? What do they make?

“Leaves?”

Yes, but I’m thinking of something else.

“Fruit?”

Sometimes, but something you’re running out of.

“Prickles?”

Something you don’t have enough of.

Her eyes widened. “SEEDS!” she said in a whisper. “The seeds grow into plants, and they make more seeds!”

Yep, so long as a few are left, more can come back. Life can do that.

Photo: The Girl last autumn, looking into a cave in the Wicklow Mountains.

1 comment:

Robert C. Guy said...

I work in an office of a large corporation and though I have always cared for the cycles of life it has only been recent months of my own life that I have begun to understand the rapidly growing severity of our present situation. I hear young men in the cubicles beside me debating video-game tactics or older men talking about how tough it is to get into a sports team or other similarly unproductive distractions from the many activities that might actually improve on the well being and stability of a community .. I will stop myself or else I will ramble on a miniature pamphlet on community sufficiency and care for the living things of the world that have been almost utterly driven out of our daily lives but I really want to thank you, thank you very much for sharing this story of your little one