“Why don’t we start at the beginning?”
“Of course Dr. Crane, it’s always best to start there I suppose.”
I was on a trip to the Amazon rain forest when I was just a teenager. This was my graduation gift from my wealthy but distant parents. They insisted that I needed to see the world. I hadn’t really decided what I wanted to study in college and I had become a bit of a recluse from the other students at school. I didn’t want to go at first but I thought at least I could get away from my parent’s nagging for a while.
It was humid to say the least but the plants necessitated that and I didn’t mind. The trees were thick and I had wandered off the trail. It was so beautiful. Luxurious green foliage was all around me and for the first time in my miserable rearing I was starting to believe that I could be happy. It was nature in it’s purest form. I could hear the group starting to wander away. I thought to myself, if only the tour group would lose me, then I could be lost forever here. Here in this perfect harmony of animals and plants. I could almost feel the plants reaching towards me, begging me to become a part of them.
The smell was intoxicating. I wondered what was inside these perfect lifeforms that attracted me to them so. The group was getting further and further away as I went down the non-existent path. I could hear a small humming I assumed it was some bug that I had never heard before. I ignored it. There were pockets of dirt with patches of all manner of plants growing around. The trees invited me further inward. I practically floated further into them.
All of a sudden a huge crack deafened me and I fell backwards. A tree had fallen and just managed to miss crushing me. I couldn’t be sure, but it was almost as if the tree tried to fall away from me. I wanted to believe that it loved me as much as I loved it. And in it’s dying fell it used that love to keep me alive. Alive for a greater purpose, perhaps. That was when I realized that the humming had gotten louder, infinitely louder. It wasn’t humming, is was buzzing. It was sawing! It was awful. Destroying the perfect surroundings I had just found myself in. The machines were impossibly huge and destroying everything in their path. There was no way I could stop them on my own. I threw myself in front of them all the same.
I ridiculously waved my hands and screamed. Anything to get them to notice me and stop their murderous rampage. They weren’t even slowing down. I braced myself for the impact. I closed my eyes and held my breath. A moment later I was thrown out of the way. I landed hard as blood and dirt filled my mouth. I looked up. One of the chaperones had rescued me. The machines trudged on with their leveling of the forest. Then one of the guide professors appeared and started yelling at me.
“Pammy, you can’t just go running off like that. Aside from all of the dangerous animals around here, you could have gotten lost or worse.”
“It’s Pamela, or Pam if you must, but don’t ever call me Pammy. You should have let me be. Did you see those machines, did you see what they were doing?”
“Yes I saw what they were doing, they were doing their job. Those machines belong to the local logging company. Those machines are why we have paper in our schools. A school, which I remind you, along with this trip, your parents pay a great sum of money for you to have at your disposal. It would not do well for you to thank them with your death. Now please stay on the path and with the group and let’s forget this incident ever happened.”
I looked back at the devastation around me. There was nothing left. The place had been completely stripped, nothing lived there anymore. All those wonderful plants, just gone in the blink of an eye. I had heard of an internship opening up at Wayne Industries ecology division for the next summer, just before I went on this trip. As I rejoined the group it was then that I knew what I wanted to do for a living.
“And what is it that you wanted to do Ms. Isley?” asked Dr. Crane.
“I wanted to be a botanist.”
This story was inspired by the picture below. The picture was a prompt provided by Jess Bell from Inked Words. If you haven’t read her writing I suggest you start with her recent poem, Today. It is raw and packed with emotion.