The Harshing of the Mellow…
first published June 5, 2016
I fancied myself a tragic Cassandra, my warnings to the world ignored and unheeded. I could recognize the birth of a killing wave long before even a ripple fluttered beneath the water. I paid attention when the stone was dropped, and could accurately calculate how long it would take before those waves engulfed the shore, There, the revelers and the workers plowed on, willfully oblivious to impending disaster.
I was not well-liked. Few wanted to be reminded that their own greed and selfishness and laziness and ignorance were contributing to an inevitable crisis. Nobody wants to be lectured by someone who is in no better a position to stop the juggernaut than they are. The best way to get through life with any measure of happiness is to ignore the sword that hangs over all our heads. But I could not let anyone forget. I would not allow them the luxury of denial or ignorance. They mocked me, condescended to me, ignored me because I could see what they refused to consider.
It didn’t matter that my predictions generally played out as I said they would. I was not sought for my advice. Instead, I spent my life on the edge of panic, without hope, certain every moment that the end was imminent.
But of course the end is always imminent for everyone. This is the human condition. Each generation eventually dies. Society, technology, mores…they are always changing, sometimes unrecognizably so in a very short time. What is calamitous to the parent is perfectly normal to the child. As the older generation loses its ability to adapt, the young easily inhabit the new conditions, having known nothing else. The human race is resilient, after all.
In the end, the pattern unspools as it was always meant to. All the millions of moving parts conspire to weave the future in the only way possible. My dire warnings and fears were for naught. What did it matter that I could see further than most? There was nothing any of us could have done to have made things turn out differently. There was nothing to do but wait for another tide.