Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Ask yourself this: "Is my god or goddess telling me to be in charge of the earth, or to be a part of the earth? That's a tricky question.
Like everyone else except the sitting president, I believe in global warming. The danger zone is everywhere. However, I've achieved a "certain age" (kind of like Miss Brody in her Prime), so I know I won't live to see the worst of it, even though it's right around the corner.
(Some of my readers think that I'll be a lot hotter by then than our planet. As in drowning in a big lake of fire forever.)
Here's a little story my daughter The Heir brought home from her Blue Ribbon School on Friday.
Between our house and the school, there's a three-acre puddle that I'll call Dog Poop Pond. Only one row of homes stands between us and Dog Poop Pond, so over the years the kids and I have spent a good deal of time trudging around this sorry little waterway. The Heir passes it every day walking to and from school.
An elderly neighbor, long gone now, once told me that in the summertime years ago, the singing of the peepers at Dog Poop Pond was so loud at night that no one could sleep.
There are no peepers in the pond anymore.
However, a few tenacious bullfrogs, newts, and snapping turtles still call the murky waters home. (Last summer we enjoyed the day when a nest of snappers hatched in our yard and the little darlings, about the size of an old-fashioned silver dollar, set off for the pond by instinct.)
The Heir's Blue Ribbon School celebrated Earth Day on Friday. The students went to Dog Poop Pond and scooped out some frogs and newts, brought them back to the school in an aquarium. The frightened pond creatures were subjected to hours of scrutiny by spoiled, wealthy white brats.
By the end of the day, one of the newts had died. The Heir reported that some boys put the newt carcass in a plastic soda bottle as a joke.
Then the students poured the aquarium out on the football field to create a "frog race." The stunned amphibians sat in the sun and didn't move, despite a great deal of prodding by high-end Birkenstocks.
The Heir said that the only voice of complaint about this came from a county naturalist who said, "You really shouldn't do that." The Heir helped the naturalist return the frogs to the pond.
The Heir was very upset about this when she came home. She's had a hard time dealing with the cruel behavior of teachers and students at her Blue Ribbon School. But this was something like a last straw. She's particularly maternal towards the poor, sorry creatures in Dog Poop Pond, having seen them cavorting in the muck since she was a toddler.
I look beyond her concern to a larger picture. The kids in this town have been showered with money and privilege since they drew their first breaths in state-of-the-art "maternity suites" at the nearby posh hospital. Most of these kids are offspring of the world's Uber Men, America's Master Race, and they're headed toward their adulthoods in the same social class.
And the way they observe Earth Day is to kick small bullfrogs across a football field and laugh at a dead newt in a Sprite bottle.
I'm really sorry that my daughters, The Heir and The Spare, are part of the Global Warming Generation. But this is a nation of rampant, careless consumers raising rampant, careless offspring.
My daughter said, "We're destroying the earth."
I told her that it is impossible for the human race as it is currently constituted to "destroy the earth." We could nuke it bare, and we might. We can let it heat up like a pressure cooker. And we will. But when all life as we know it disappears, some little creatures now living in sulfur vents in the deepest ocean trenches will begin evolving new forms all over again.
And that's the power of Mother Earth. Long may She reign.
In the meantime, let the frog-kickers inherit the heat. Anyone who could behave with such wanton cruelty on Earth Day richly deserves to watch their $1.5 million shore home disappear into the waves.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
LIVING IN EXILE IN NEW JERSEY