The Spectral Voice – a short story



The Spectral Voice

[voice from the shadow worlds — Sha’Tara] 

I’ve been feeling rather forlorn for some years now.  I don’t get much in the way of meaningful dialogue.  In fact I get little dialogue of any kind, at least not with the humans.

 I still frequent the quiet places of Earth but those are becoming rarer and rarer.  Of late I’ve taken to walking the top of the mountains and swimming the rivers and lakes.  I was conversing with a couple of ravens the other day when several of those jet airplanes roared on past overhead and the ravens flew off because the noise hurt them.  It’s OK, it hurt me too. 

There aren’t as many fish now as there used to be and the waters are full of strange and alien vibrations.  Also I find man-made garbage, mostly chemical effluents, spoiling the waters.  The larger boats create much turmoil and the waters are murky.  Many of the young fish die because their environment is no longer healthy for them.  The waters of Earth are becoming a death trap for those who cannot live anywhere else.

 I still find forests to walk through, but they too are dwindling.  Most of the people I find here are bent on some sort of destruction.  Either they are logging the forest, or hunting and killing what remains of the animal population or they are just out there “joy riding” in their ATV’s and four wheel drives.  Needless to say the larger animals are too busy between catching a few moments of badly needed rest, protecting themselves or their families, finding new sources of food or just running scared from the human predators to have much time to chat with me.   

 So as you’ve gathered I mostly spend my time observing it all, not trying to communicate much of anything to anyone.  What is there to say to the remaining non-humans just trying to survive?  I sit quietly for days on end and watch a beaver family build a lodge for the winter.  Or I watch the antics of squirrels gathering nuts and burying them.  I follow sparrows and other small birds with my eyes, listening to their chirping and for some brief moment I enjoy a respite of heart from their boundless enthusiasm and child-like faith in life.

Today I went into your city: any city.  It’s all the same city, so the name you give it doesn’t matter.  This time I thought I’d concentrate on your thoughts and find someone with whom I could converse simply and clearly.  I wanted to express what I’d seen of the destruction of the wilderness.  You see, without your wilderness – large untouched forests, green prairies, pristine river valleys and clean seas – this planet is going to become poisoned and in a short time it will look like your neighbour, the one you call Mars.  I wanted to tell you this hoping you would acknowledge my right to say this, and would respond to my deep sense of knowing in these things.  I was, you might say, longing for a meaningful conversation with an intelligent, sentient and self-aware being.

 It was a very long day, tiring even for me.  I went from your business districts to your suburbs, to your industrial areas and finally I wandered among your destitute and homeless.  But everywhere there was what you call music playing from radios, or there were computers and TV’s talking and all of you were plugged in to cell phones, or i-somethings, and not one of you heard me or even felt my presence. 

I really wanted to speak with you about your ways.  You are about to commit genocide.  I think you already know this but you have a way of slipping into denial as if that could fix everything. Already you destroy hundreds of non-human living species each day, without qualm, fear or guilt.  I wanted to tell you that you are all linked together on this tiny world.  With each species you destroy you also destroy a vital part of your own culture, of your own life.  You, as a people, are dying.  The most terrible aspect of your death isn’t in the physical, it’s that you are killing your own spirit, becoming less and less alive even as you frantically seek more activities.  

 I know what I have to say to you does not appear to be good news.  But at least, had you listened, you would be empowered at this moment to do something, if not for the planet, at least for yourselves, as individuals.  You could have changed your ways. But, let me recount the excuses I hear in your minds: you were too young, too old, too busy, too afraid, too comfortable.  It’s just too easy to believe that all the bad signs given off by your natural environment are the product of conspiracy theories. 

Oh, you were listening to this?  Interesting.  Who am I, you ask?  You don’t recognize me?  Have I been hidden from your awareness for so long?  I am the one your ancient ones called “Wisdom.” They knew where to find me and we had interesting and deeply meaningful conversations long ago.  Yes, I suppose you are right, I’m out of date.  I should have left this world long ago.  I’m too old and spectral to impress anyone today.  But thank you for listening.  I very much desired to share good things with you.  Alas, it was not to be. 



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