Just as the rain started to fall softly, almost cautiously, after a month of warm, dry weather, I stumbled upon a poem by Sara Teasdale, “There Will Come Soft Rains” (thanks Rikke for sharing!), and while apparently it’s written at the end of WWI in 1918, it feels strikingly timely:
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,“There Will Come Soft Rains” – Sara Teasdale, 1918
Would scarcely know that we were gone.
I was quite moved by it and it really resonates with my current belief: we humans, the most preposterous creatures ever to walk the earth, don’t matter much. We do massive damage to each other and the earth while we’re here, yes, but in the bigger picture, we are rather insignificant.
I don’t mean this in any nihilistic or defeatist sense, quite the contrary. I think there is a great big hope in humility, in finding and accepting a different, much less prominent place in the world for us. We are neither better or worse, more or less important than anything else that exists. There is no hierarchy of species and our consciousness grants us no blank cheque to destroy the planet. If we can embrace that, if we collectively can learn to care for each other and the world, then maybe, there’s a path ahead for us. Not a great big highway full of cars, but a small track in the woods for us to walk, slowly, gently, while paying attention to whatever we may encounter, sensitive to our surroundings and without knowing exactly where we’ll end up. That’s the only path, I think, that doesn’t lead to the perishing of humankind.