Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Nick Sinnott-Armstrong, class of 2009, wrote this essay for Life and Times:

The rain has come. It flows through the trees like a flock of crows, splashing and bouncing its way along that path. Ever downwards it runs, ever downwards to the dark and misty depths, far underground, those mysterious aquifers which coat the soils deep within the earth.

With the rain, the thunder rolls. Great crashes, magnificent giants pounding their hammers on the cage surrounding the blackened globe, hide the future in the present. Nothing can hide from the smashes, those huge cracks of lightning, and for a moment all the world stands dumbstruck and still. That cruel justice, random killings of tree stalks who lived silent, resolute, for a hundred generations, played out its game as it did a thousand times before, never sparing except by chance. The sound, a riffle at the edge of a waterfall, gives way to the cruelty and malice, which caves to a sparing on the forest floor, which will in due time free another generation in their quest for life. The smell, the charred wood and dying hope of a former king, abdicates the throne, caves to another torrent of moisture.

That massive giant consumes the sky, blots out the sun. The invasive species, pest of the natural world, crushes all between its massive jaws. The clouds form an army of black ants marching resolutely in their endless line of senseless existence. That storm eats everything in its path. Licking its chops, it pours out more saliva, washing away the carcasses of those chosen few whose souls upon which it preyed. The dead wood is shattered, chewed, and swallowed by the sea. Eaten as fodder, that food satiating the waters and weathers of the world, the thundering slows, the lightning stops, the rain lessens, the sky lightens, and the earth stands still. The wine of the cunning one has put to rest this juggernaut of cool destruction, and so it sleeps.

Slowly, slowly, the creatures return. A twitter here, the first brave sparrow telling his lovely mate that he survived the chaos, a scurry there, the furtive chipmunk dashing for his stash of acorns to protect them from the scavengers; within hours, the life had returned to normal. The pattering of little feet on the dew-soaked grass, the flash of red in the quivering branches, the myriad of beetles finally deciding the time is right to return to the feast, all betray a vivality not far removed even in a time of catastrophe and triumph.

The frozen speck of rain sits motionless on the river bank, suspended for a moment before the plunge. Like a great cat crouching just before
the kill, it quivers; unwilling to release from the hearth of green upon which it now lives, the drop crouches and listens. The perfectly flowing, globular mass readies for the fall which never comes. For that giant glowing globe returns once more, and with it the cool, refreshing breeze of something waiting just over the horizon.

Helios cuts through with his blazing chariot, and the heat is not far behind. Nine hundred watts per square meter now propel that little crystal, sweetly singing, up into the heavens and past the friends and family not above the treetops. They wait. It flies. Justice, it seems, unravels. When will another mob of atoms group themselves in that way? How will others react when they discover the journey of this young friend? They peer skywards; and they are off as well. That heat has come to them as well, and so they turn to gas as well. Drifting, drifting. Now the droplets rule the sky; they form the sky. A smattering of colors, the angles through three surfaces of water just perfect to produce the perfection of a sight, that last homage to the monster having dissipated mere moments before.

"Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" impacted me. I saw for the first time how less influential individuals grow through the ranks, how individuals with a variety of unique skills can work together and do great things.

The Fellowship of the Ring's impact was hardfelt, and troubling, and I still have the welt.

We are the last chance. Whether or not we want war, war will come. We have fought over freedom, we have fought over gold, we have fought over slavery, we have fought over expansion. Today, we fight over the environment.

Without this last step in the process, we cannot hope to survive. Long ago, this nation has settled the score against our ancestors, against our enemies, against our protectorate, against our friends, and against ourselves. Now, we must protect against the future.

We risk more than you could possibly imagine. Not just our friends, not just coastal colonists, will be harmed by our neglect of this green home. If we do not stop now, it will be the last thing we don't do. The environment won't wait. We have taken the loving earth which kept us warm and turned it to a flaming furnace of fear. It continues to warm our planet, it continues to kill our crops, as it had for a billion years. We continue to destroy this earth, and all it did protect us for a million. After all this time, all our successes and our struggles, we don't realize the world as it is.

The "truth'' which we cling to, which we force upon the furry and fierce creatures of the world, isn't fact. It is true that humans are the highest intelligence known to man. Then again, dolphins are the highest known intelligence known to dolphins. We have butchered this pleasant globe and left it for dead.

Live in the moment, they cry. But every second we listen, that moment grows shorter. In the last half century, we have used seventy percent of the natural gas and oil the world will produce during the millions of years our species has or will exist. That is injustice, and we can stand for it no longer. Take up arms! Fight the oppression! Then, and only then, can we survive.