We have grown tired of counting the mind cannot deal with numbers of that magnitude, Stalin was correct, it is all statistics now, and bodies, always more bodies, never enough, always too many, by violence in the street, in the economy, in the courthouse, in the COVID ward, there are too many places now, where the dead gather, and we cannot bid them farewell, for we do not want to be counted among them, to join them, to admit that we in some way have led them into disease, into poverty, into death.
It should give you pause to consider that, in the midst of boundless greed, enmeshed in the near cult of self, rushing always to go nowhere quickly, certain the problems of the world, can be solved tomorrow, using resources that may never be replenished or substituted for,
when we are dead and buried, we will be the fossil fuels that future generations rightfully shun in horror.
If you close your eyes you can imagine that this garden was once a tropical jungle as imagined by some clever Floridian striving to separate more tourists from their dwindling travellers checks.
It has been carefully done over, plants native and ornamental replacing the vines and trees, the alligators, real and imaginary gone, now an exhibit of Lego animals, the orchids in bloom, and you wonder why anyone once came here in the old days.
I would like nothing more than to have a long conversation with the birds, that there is much they could tell me, much they know that I should understand but I am the interloper here, and they have lost trust in my kind.
I watch them closely, trying to discern what I can of their thoughts, but in a flash of wing, they erase my efforts, their unique version of giving me the bird, so to speak.
I speak to them, offer apologies, atone for my presence, for the others who have taken their space, and they listen, but in the end, turn away again, having, they say, heard this too many times before.
I stooped and spoke to a stone, asking the question. I was here before you arrived and I will be her long after you leave. I held the sand in my hand warm from the sun, asking the question. I came after your arrived and I will leave long before you are gone. I held the winter wind on the tip of a finger, asking the question. I am not here now and I have never been here. I touched the waters to my lips, asking the question. I was above you when you came and I will be below you when you go. I saw the flames dance before me, asking the question. You were ashes once and you shall be ashes again. I stood mired in the clay clinging to my legs, asking the question. It is of me you were formed and it is to me you will return. I sat at the foot of God blinding light, asking the question. You cried to me at birth and you will cry to me at death.