This is part 4 of a short story cut into shorter sections. To see part 1 and follow the entire story, click here.
The Earth felt it first in his North America. It then spread to his Europe and across his Asia. This wasn’t one of those headaches he got from too much pressure along his tectonic plates. This one was the direct result of 6 billion feet marching across his surface in angry unison. If they didn’t stop stomping soon, he would be forced to knock the people off balance. The Earth hadn’t been this upset since the invention of high-heeled shoes.
During what he considered the puberty of their race (generally referred to as “modernity”), the Earth felt the people had become disturbingly self-centered. Maybe he had a heart of stone, but the Earth was tired of being taken for granted. He was tired of letting ungrateful people walk all over him.
Wasn’t he always patient with them during their Thanksgiving Day Parade? Didn’t he suffer quietly through their New York City Marathon? He even allowed their military to practice their ridiculous advances and retreats at all hours of the day and night. His patience, however, was growing as thin as his ozone. The endless protest marches had to stop. They were not only irritating, they were insulting.
The Earth wasn’t deaf. He knew what everyone was saying about him. He heard it when the geologist from Caltech questioned his stability and told a reporter he thought the Earth might be cracking up. He was listening when Greenpeace voted to take his name off their website. He noticed when Earth Day was cancelled and replaced with a symbolically violent tether-ball tournament.
The Earth tried to ignore preachers when they filled their Sunday Sermons with stories comparing him to somebody named “The Prodigal Son,” but he couldn’t. From pulpits across the globe they shouted that he was like an arrogant child who ran away from his father and leapt carelessly into the future. They said he “neglected his responsibility” and “denied his true calling.” They condemned him for “choosing a path other than the one that had been assigned to him” and urged him to return to “the natural state of things.” They didn’t think the Earth realized how serious things had become.
The Earth was offended that the same people who invented oil-powered engines and artificial sweeteners dared to lecture him about “respecting creation” and “acting according to the laws of nature.”
Why, the Earth wondered, didn’t the people didn’t understand that he hadn’t broken away from his pre-determined path? He was still following the same circle around the same sun. He was simply doing it differently than he had been before. And even if he had rushed into the future, he hadn’t done it carelessly. He had done it from necessity.
Self preservation and selfishness are two entirely different things.
To Be Continued...
To read part 5, click here.