Tuesday 12 October 2021

Pebbles on the Beech


by Kevin Wood

jasmine tea


I’d heard the news. And it was pretty bad. But I’d decided to go down the Cliff Road to see for myself. It took less than ten minutes before I arrived in the area and looking across the bay towards Dante’s Cliff.  I could see it was all true.

  Overnight the cliff edge had broken away and taken with it about twenty to thirty yards of land. This devastation had meant that my childhood home had gone and was now nothing more than debris strewn across the beach at the foot of the Cliff. It was shocking and brought a lump to my throat. It felt like all my childhood memories had been swept away in one horrendous rockfall.

  As I looked on my mind drifted back to those memories playing in our beautiful cliff top garden. In those days the edge seemed so far away. And beyond it we could look across the bay and out to sea. It was idyllic.

  The garden, of course, is now gone. Much of it over recent years and then the remainder vanished shortly after we finally moved away last year. The Council had constantly warned us about the eroding rock getting closer to our home and sure enough once we had moved more of it fell taking the rest of the garden with it.

  Now this.

  I watched on as all of that emotion and memories were coming flooding back to me. I was holding back the tears.

  I closed my eyes.

  When my eyes were opened, I saw a rainforest burning, laying waste to the trees, sending the wildlife scattering for safety. Fleeing for their lives where possible and for the others…? They would not be so fortunate. For them their homes were no more than ashes. I saw a young orangutan as its forest home was being destroyed and its habitat turned to dust. Then I saw a polar bear hunting on a melting icecap. Searching for food that could no longer be relied on in this changing environment. I saw an oil spill in the sea killing the fish, the seabirds and much of the beautiful creatures that found themselves caught in its wake. Floundering. Helpless.

  And then, when I opened my eyes once more, I could feel their pain. The collective loss. Despair. I thought is this really be what we have done to the world?

  It appears that just as we have spent countless years attacking nature now nature was attacking us. Whether it is my old clifftop home or perhaps the lands that are being flooded by the melting icecaps that had cost the polar bear so dearly.

  For humankind or for nature itself I felt the outcome seemed so bleak. Whether I mourn for the wildlife or the loss of my own home the result is the same for all of us. We are homeless.

  I looked out across the bay and considered what we were leaving behind. Ashes are scattered across a broken forest. Dust is blowing in the breeze of a world in flames as we ignore the other animal and plant life with which we share this planet.

  As the climate screams and temperatures soar.

  Until now as below me I see my home reduced to mere pebbles on the beach.

 About the author  

Kevin Wood is a retired Accountant from Basildon Essex. He has written an, as yet unpublished, octology of short stories titled The Search for Ellie Babble. He continues to write mainly short stories and poems.

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