Friday, June 14, 2013

There Will Come Soft Rains

Hey guys, it’s Beckley.  Word to your mother.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming action with the UAS, as has just about every sane person in Haven and the Union.  Josh has already talked at length about this, but I wanted to put my thoughts out there too.  I know that I tend to just parrot and remix some of what Josh says.  Kind of like I’m a Puff Daddy.  Or did he just insist on being called just Diddy before The Fall?  For the life of me I can’t remember or muster up the fortitude to care.  Regardless, Josh has a theme and occasionally I’ll just remix it and insist that the song about a stalker is actually a touching tribute to Biggie Smalls with a well placed, “Yeah” or two.  That metaphor may have gotten away from me slightly.  And now I’m thinking of a zombie Biggie Smalls.  Regardless, this is my thing.  Love it.

Specifically my thoughts have gone to a poem I read back when I was a kid.  Before that, though, let me explain something.  I have principles.  But I’ve also always been a pragmatist.  Prior to The Fall I was a conservative because I believed in small government.  But I was ready to admit that big government programs like the postal service, public libraries, and health care were necessary.  I was religious before all this happened and life became so confused.  But I wasn’t one to shove those tenants into anyone’s face and I always believed that people had the right to believe what they wanted.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a pluralist, and it always drove me crazy when people would say that all religions were the same.  I always found that lazy, factually incorrect in regards to dogma, and culturally insensitive.  Regardless, I like to think that this pragmatism helped me as a therapist.  You really can’t go around challenging every ignorant thing that people say in therapy because then the bigger functionality issues never get addressed.  What good is me correcting some poor guy saying that “the Jews” are plotting against him when he’s also actively hearing voices telling him that he’s Jesus Christ?  You need proportion and you need pragmatism in life.

All that to say that while I do fear the war coming to Haven’s doorstep, I also don’t fear the results.  The Union wins, it’s all good.  The UAS wins, that’s rough and we will all die.  Not just us.  Everyone.  The UAS can’t hold this territory and they have no idea how to grow and adapt.  They will crumble like the rest of Humanity already has.  And then there will be nothing here.  But what does that really mean?  Really?  I’m not being fatalistic or morose and I certainly don’t want to die, but seriously ask yourself the question.  We all die, but how is that any different than what life has already thrown at us in the form of rising dead?  And we’re not talking about total extinction.  There will still be other survivors.  And other countries have their own pockets of Humanity, some of them probably doing much better than we are here.  Maybe an isolated island.  I bet New Zealand is doing incredibly well, for example.  Humanity will survive even if the UAS lays waste and then crumbles under their own weighty shortsightedness.  And then Nature will continue without us.  The dead will run short on easily obtainable food and they will starve.  The planted fields of Haven will grow wild.  Clover will cover the streets.  Vines and trees will spring up and everything, the walls, the Box, the compound, the hospital, the cheeseburger emporium, the fortified walls that Josh built around his house in the first days of The Fall, they will all crumble away.  We succeed and life will flourish here.  We fail and life will still flourish and one day people will rise again.  Survivors from other countries will branch out as the dead finally lay down.  People will come and rebuild on the ruins of Haven, rebuild Josh’s house, the hospital, the cheeseburgers, rebuild it all.  The streets will return and life will continue.

And that is why I’m a pragmatist.  Again, this isn’t self-pity or depression.  Someone I cared for very much before these days used to tell me when my self-pity was getting out of control.  She’s…I don’t know where now.  Probably shuffling around with everyone else I ever knew.  But what I do know is that these new people in my life, they are going to live.  Whether it’s over the broken remains of the UAS or as clover pollen in the wind, we will live.  That’s the pragmatism I’m talking about.  And it’s very comforting to me to think about as I strain my ears during the night, listening to the moans outside the wall and trying to catch the first sign of an approaching UAS vanguard.  We will survive and life will continue.

That poem, in case you were wondering, was by Sara Teasdale.  It’s called There Will Come Soft Rains and it was used to great effect by the always immortal (in the best possible way, such words not being what they used to) Ray Bradbury in a short story about a fully automated house continuing its blissful daily existence even after its family was incinerated to a nuclear shadow on the front lawn and even as it burns to death.  It was included in The Martian Chronicles.  If you haven’t, go read it.  To the point here’s the poem:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound
And frogs in the pools singing at night
And wild plum trees in tremulous white
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

It’s very sad, very inspirational, and very true.  And more applicable here than I’m comfortable admitting.  The UAS is coming.  But they can’t kill us.  Not what was created here.  Only Nature can do that.  And really, that’s as it should be and how it always was.  No zombies, no delusional politicians, no incoming army, no vigilante action, no Dragoon, and no blog will stop it.  We march towards dust always and I do it with a glad heart because in the end, we are all part of something bigger.  Dawn is coming whether we’re here for it or not.  And it always will be.

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