Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Died and Gone

Here’s another reason why I find it hard to believe in an afterlife, especially one where you get to sit by the right hand of a supreme being and live in bliss and harmony for all eternity: on today’s ride out to school, the weather couldn’t have been nicer, the scenery more lovely, the bird songs sweeter, nor could I have felt any better and more at peace, even were I reclined beside the Allmighty himself; if there is a heaven, in other words, it’s right here on earth, as I live, not up in the sky (or wherever) after I’m gone.

But as proof that maybe I’m not so sure after all: there was at least one moment as I pedaled along, the dappled sunlight warming my arms, the songs of chickadees and robins tickling my ears, that I did sort of wonder whether I had died and gone to heaven.

At the very least, it did very strongly occur to me that, as my old colleague John Latourell used to put it, “this is the beautiful time, man,” and if it does come to pass, as so many signs point to, that climate change and overpopulation will put an end to so much of the natural beauty we now enjoy, I will recall these days as an older man (assuming I make it that long), as among the best I ever got to experience.

I just finished reading T.C. Boyle’s A Friend of the Earth, which is set in the year 2025, after human-induced global climate change has devastated pretty much of everything: California experiences monsoons for half the year, drought for the rest; practically all the higher mammals (except humans) in the world are extinct; the only thing thriving is a washed-up pop star apparently modeled on a cross between Bono and Michael Jackson. Human activity has reduced that world to hell; here, today, though, I still get a taste of paradise made real.


Post a Comment

<< Home