Tuesday, 23 October 2012
The Girl knows that, only a brief time ago - in the thousands of years -- the whole world looked like the Serengeti does today, with massive animals everywhere and ancient trees. She knows that a short time ago islands near us had Giant Swans, that my native Missouri had sloths the size of elephants, and that the islands here once saw the Great Auk and the Irish elk.
She knows that almost all the great animals are gone now, killed by humans. She knows the Oldest Story, Gilgamesh, begins with the felling of the great trees, and that's why Gilgamesh's land is now a desert. She knows that there are only a few fragments of this World Gone By still alive, places where the soil has not been harvested away and the landscape has not been scoured. She knows we have to protect them from our own kind.
"But there are so few of them left," she said the other night, "What happens if they go too?"
It will be sad for us, because we won't get to see them anymore, I said. But it won't be the end for the Creation; it has been remade many times before. We are part of its story, not the other way around. Our job is to become the heroes of the story.