The game players have gathered around the Game Master to give their reports and get their next assignment. They are serious, somber, and silent.
Master: Greetings, All. I have called you together today to review what has been done, to analyze the results, and to discuss our next moves, in this Game called Life on Earth. At the last meeting, we discussed the turmoil on Earth and came up with a plan to try to counter it. I look forward to your reports. Player 1?
P1: Master, first I must say that there is still turmoil. You will recall that we decided to give the Earthlings a challenge to divert them and try to redirect them to helping each other instead of fighting. We introduced a clown into their election. As a joke. But many people embraced this clown and he was elected.
Master: But he could not do much harm as a clown leader.
P1: On the contrary, he tried to dismantle the democracy of his nation. And other leaders followed suit. So that there was danger of autocracy in many places of the world.
P2: Fortunately, enough people saw reason and voted him out. There was still hope. But the country was seriously divided after this. There was no longer compromise as in the past but bitter acrimony and name calling.
Master: Well, we all learn from our mistakes. At least the outcome was somewhat acceptable. Hopefully, the reasonable people will prevail. Did you come up with another plan then?
P3: Yes, we decided to come up with something worldwide that would unite the people in a common cause. In this, we succeeded to some extent. We injected a dangerous virus into their environs. Many became sick, but the researchers immediately started investigating cures and the health officials imposed mandates for people to follow to keep the virus at bay. Player 2 can comment more on that.
P2: Yes, I was among the people. Most of them followed the mandates and the virus was contained. The doctors and nurses worked valiantly to cure those who contracted the virus. Countries worked across borders. And the virus was kept at bay. It could have been much worse.
P3: May I interject? Not all followed the mandates. The doctors’ advice became a political football. The researchers developed vaccines that worked, but some were suspicious. And they developed an effective medicine but it was in short supply so they had to ration it. People began to take sides and sling insults at each other. So the threat of the virus did not bring everyone together in one common goal as we had hoped.
P4: Still, it did bring the world together. Everyone was in the same boat, all were fighting the same disease and all were aware of each other’s plight. There was a common enemy. Nations shared information and vaccines.
P3: But some had the means to fight it and others did not. The vaccinations did not get to the poor countries, the poor could not get proper health care, and people fought over who should get the medicine. The drug companies got richer and food became scarce or too expensive for many to afford.
Master: So there was no movement at all, no steps in the right direction?
P2: Perhaps one baby step? We can hope. So we tried something else.
Master: And what was that?
P1: We introduced a war. We convinced a leader of one nation to invade the neighboring nation.
Master: And the result?
P1: Well, the attacked nation rallied, the people united and fought valiantly. The women and children evacuated and the men stayed behind to fight. All were brave and stalwart.
P2: Many other countries offered their help. People opened their homes to the refugees. They showed their better side.
P3: But the fighting continued and is still raging today.
Master: Do you expect a positive outcome?
The four players look at each other then all shake their heads.
Master: Well, then, what is next?
Player 1: We have done one more thing. It is a challenge not of our making but created by the humans themselves. But we have made them aware of climate change. Some parts of Earth have floods, others have droughts. There are hurricanes and there is extreme hot weather.
Player2: Again, the scientists are studying what to do and have come up with some solutions. But they might be too late. Time is not on their side. The young people have taken on the challenge and many are working on solutions. People are beginning to conserve their resources.
Player 3: But the big money resists these changes. They claim to be making changes but in reality, they are breaking the rules and finding new ways to line their pockets.
Master: You four have described a dismal situation. Is it time to give up hope on Earth and launch the final asteroid?
The players all look at each other and shake their heads.
Player 4: Oh no, not yet!
Master: But you seem to say there is no hope.
Player 1: (pensively) I still have hope. As I lived and worked with these people, I saw them work together, play together and help each other. Many cared about the Earth, others cared about the poor people, and still others fought against war. Even those who didn’t think about the entire Earth cared for their own families, their pets, their neighbors and the Nature around them. They do care and they have hope. They work hard in the face of doom and are resilient So I think we must do the same.
Master: Very well. Then you agree to continue your work among them?
The players look at each other and each nods yes in turn.
Master: So what is next? Shall we start something new?
Player 2: With all due respect, dear Master, I think the people of Earth have enough to deal with at the moment. Let’s continue to watch and see how they deal with the virus, with the wars, and with the climate. Perhaps they will come up with acceptable solutions.
Player 1: But what will be our role?
Player 2: We can live among them and offer suggestions. We can model such values as caring and compassion. We can help the scientists find solutions. And we can be teachers to the young to help them find paths to solutions. As well as whisper into their ears to never give up hope.
They all nod.
Master: So it is agreed. I thank you all for your service. And wish you good luck. I have always had a fond spot for this planet Earth, so green and blue and full of life. Someday, of course, as all planets, it will disappear, but I would hate to see that happen to Earth so soon. For I too, have hope. These animals called humans are remarkably adaptable, they are intelligent beyond most other animals, they look beyond themselves. They have hope and resilience. Please do what you can to help them find the path to a better future. The master bows with hands before him and turns to leave.
The players all bow back somberly and fade away into the darkness.
Does the creek still flow,
Rippling over the steep rocks?
Or is it quiet?
Do people still sing
Do they gather together?
Or silently masked?
Do children still play
Outside on the play structure?
Or huddled inside?
The rains did not come,
The bombs continue to rain,
Virus is still here.
The creek is flowing,
The people singing,
The children playing.
And life goes on day by day.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
War raged across the land. Tanks rumbled down the roads, across the fields, and stationed themselves to aim a well-plotted missile. And a home was destroyed.
But the birds took to the air and flew off to other trees.
Heat flowed through the city. People sought relief in the shade and children played in fountains. But this only temporarily eased their discomfort.
The fish swam deeper to cooler waters.
Fire roared through the forest and the little town in its midst. People fled in their cars, taking only their children and pets, leaving behind their houses and belongings.
The deer and bears ran from the forest fleeing the searing flames. They ran until they came to the river, crossed it and fled up the hill away from the fire. They had no baggage, for they never do.
There have always been fire, floods and extreme weather. In the past, humans did as the animals do. They left their homes and soon found another. They had no baggage, no ties, no infrastructure. And they soon found another home and continued their lives as before.
Over time, the humans built houses, then towns. They waged war. Then they built cities and cathedrals. They had automobiles that used gas. Their lives became complex. They continued to wage war, but now with weapons of mass destruction. The fires and floods continued but they wreaked much more damage. They disrupted lives much more.
The humans rose to the occasion and sought solutions. But the solution were as complex as the problems.
Perhaps a return to the simpler life that had been would be the most reasonable of solutions.
But how does one undo centuries of “civilization”?
Or is the best yet to come?
Will our complex ingenious inventions make or destroy us?
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”
― Elizabeth Edwards
Píccola says: I take life as it comes. I hope only for a treat and if that is not forthcoming, I soon forget and go on with my day. I sleep when tired and play when full of energy and I do not think about the future. My life is here and now.
Happiness surfaces with one's unqualified acceptance of self and life.
Not to be discouraged by adversity, paves the road to success.
The natural world and the cultural world, are worlds apart.
Let the painful past be, and focus on a better present.
Mankind's rage for destruction is at decided variance with its passion for creation.
We humans are a wondrous lot,
An oxymoronic combination.
We are body, flesh and bones,
With earthy needs and appetites,
Physical skills and limitations,
And bound by the laws of the actual world.
But minds we are no less than bodies,
Consciousness in a physical world.
Given to the abstract realm of thought,
Of imagination and of emotions,
And bound by neither time nor space.
We have our beings in disparate worlds,
Live simultaneously disparate lives,
Disparate lives inseparately twinded
That grade and complement each other,
And are a challenge to harmonize.