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The Tears Of A Child: A Moment With Bill Reflection
High on a Mountaintop
“We begin to see, therefore, the importance of selecting our environment with the greatest of care, because environment is the mental feeding ground out of which the food that goes into our minds is extracted.”
The little child sits by the stream, looking out on the lush, green valley before her. Sadness engulfs her, weighing down upon her as though a physical weight of enormous proportions. Dressed in bib overalls and sneakers, a sweatshirt to stave off the early morning chill, she is a lovely child with cherubic face, ponytails and a slight build. Her nose is Pixie-ish, her lips full and her eyes, such wide-expressive eyes, see distortions through the forming tears.
A single drop leaves her eye, slips from the corner and begins a slow, gravitational flow along her cheek, a cheek pink from the air’s bite. The tear reaches her chin and hovers there for seconds before dropping into the flowing water, the water following its own gravitational flow towards the pastures below.
Over gravel and stones it travels, around sandbars, ricocheting along the curved banks, increasing in speed, forging its way along a liquid highway formed by millions of years. The child, cried-out and late for breakfast, rises from her fir stump and trudges home.
The tear continues its journey.
Through the Watershed
The angle of descent decreases now as farmland comes into view. The great farms line the banks of the widening waterway; farm animals graze with steam rising from their flanks, defecating as Nature would have them do, another flow adding to the flow, mixing with the pesticides and tractor fluids and the single tear.
The forests once lined the watershed, but now only clear-cuts and eroding banks can be seen, muddy cakes calving off to further distort Nature’s life-giving elixir. Stumps and limbs are all that remain of the old-growth majesty, a majesty never witnessed by the little girl who now eats her oat bran and toast high above the rape and pillaging of the landscape.
Now a river, the former stream sweeps along a wide bend and approaches the outskirts of the great city. A smattering of bottles, cans and plastics now dot the banks, and culverts dispense their own polluted mixtures as the tear, once as clear and pure as the child who cried it, takes on the gray hue of the city in view.
Passing now the factories, billowing smokestacks and waste water, and the machine shops, and the salvage yards and all other signs of industrial progress, the teardrop presses on and oddly grows in size as though sadness has reproduction capabilities. Sludge and soot, arsenic and acetone, all manner of chemical combinations taking what was once unsullied and rendering it unrecognizable, a compound that in no way resembles the natural processes.
Hail the Great City
Industrialized madness is what it is, hundreds of vehicles scattering to and fro in the name of commerce, each adding to the killing field that bears slight resemblance to the once clear mountain stream. The tear cannot see on this portion of the journey, so polluted are the waters, as bloated fish drift with the current and the shoreline predators feed upon the carcasses. Boys and their fathers fish from the shoreline, wading through the discarded detritus of humanity to find a rare, unsullied spot to sit and cast a bobber, an act of futility for sure for the great schools of fish are no more, and their decay becomes part of the new, ever-flowing compound of death.
Thousands of homes stretch out from the commerce center, families doing what families do, using and discarding, wasting and destroying, all in the name of convenience with nary a thought to the damage perpetrated upon the water supply. And the toilets flush and the garbage disposals churn, the sprinklers sprinkle and the fertilizers are spread, adding to the mix, adding to the destruction, adding to the inevitability of it all, as the little girl prepares for school, eager to learn more from her wise elders, all contributors to the problem though surely they would deny it.
The great city is left behind, and the tear now slows down as it approaches the shallowness of the estuary before dumping into the broad, expansive gulf. There it joins with millions of other tears, deposited by other rivers near and far, all murky distortions of what they once were.
And the sun beats down on this broad expanse of liquid, and the liquid floats skyward where it joins with other invisible liquids, and Nature does its thing to form clouds, drifting across the land, cooling and forming droplets too heavy for the sky. And they rain down upon the Earth, and the reservoirs fill, and the treatment centers treat, and the filters filter, a never-ending process as old as mankind.
Once filtered and treated the teardrops flow through the great pipelines, spreading out like tentacles of some 50’s horror movie monster, slithering into the homes of millions, awaiting the turn of a handle and the release from the faucets, and there the little girl will fill her glass and drink the coolness. Satiated, she will kiss her mother and father goodnight, and climb under the covers, and she will dream of the wonders of a life yet lived.
And a New Day Dawns
In the morning the little child will wake early, as is her nature, and pull on her boots and wrap herself tightly in her heavy coat, and make her way to that hillside and her morning companion, the life-giving stream, where she will sit upon its banks and look down upon the valley. She wants desperately to believe; she wants desperately to embrace hope, but the sadness returns and the tears form once again, and they slide down that downy cheek, hesitate once more on her lovely chin, and drop into the stream.
So it was. So it is. So it shall be. Millions of wishful children; billions of tears born from a sadness they cannot define or give explanation for; each looking upon a present, envisioning a future, and knowing instinctively that the life of dreams in no way resembles the life of reality, for wishing does not make it so, and the road to hell is lined with good intentions.
Are you willing to make a difference?
How Will It End?
The little child does not know. She senses foreboding but cannot express it with words. She grows into her teens, and then adulthood, and eventually she has a child of her own, a lovely child with cherubic face, Pixie nose, full lips and wide, expressive eyes, and those eyes see the same distortions that her mother once saw sitting under the shade of the elms alongside that flowing source of life.
And that child rushes home with tear-stained cheeks and hugs her mother and tells her of her thoughts, and the mother weeps in remembrance of days she spent in wistful silence, and she kisses her child and whispers words of comfort, words of comfort for a child who represents a new generation, hopefully a wiser generation, a more compassionate generation, a more loving generation.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”