Chemical Birds and Breathing Rocks


To quote Duke Miller “People are doomed, but the earth will do just fine.  A few billion years will cure everything and chemical birds and breathing rocks will rule.  I note that Chernobyl is thriving.”

He is, of course, right.  Animal populations are on the rise in  Chernobyl, primarily because there are no people. Wolves are particularly plentiful.  

I have crazy-assed friends who believe that wolves are smarter than humans. They not only raise wolf-dogs but sleep and eat with them. They even howl at full moons. One day I expect to visit their ranch and find the humans locked in the dog runs and their wolf dogs playing poker on the veranda, a Make America Great bumper sticker on their old pickup.

I was in St. Petersburg three months after Chernobyl.  There are sadder places in the world but none so grey. I was cruising the Baltic with a group of wealthy stockbrokers, one of whom almost got us thrown into jail for trying to smuggle a pretty Russian woman onboard.  The harbor master had seen the trick before and took the stockbroker aside for a few sharp words and the admonition to give her his shoes and nothing else.

I can still see her reaching out to him through the chain-link fence as we sailed away.  He had other shoes.  I couldn’t believe how thin her arms were.

(the photo above is from the movie The Full Monty. )



3 thoughts on “Chemical Birds and Breathing Rocks

  1. Carefully the text was smoothed out upon a shiny metal table and photos were taken. The man, whoever he was, hunched over the book and tugged at something forgotten, looking with bug eyes through thick lenses at the pulse between decay and reanimation. The invisible boundary of the Arctic ran directly through his head. He read these words: “Jan knew how thin the arms were and how many shoes were worn and when the wolves would carry us all away.” Perhaps this was an understanding from the future that had become mixed with the past. He did not know as he picked up a few graphic comic book shadows and tossed them across the floor of his high-tech cabin. He would nail them into place later after some hot popcorn and a few fingers of whisky.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, you guys! I’m catching up! Let’s not let this place molder and gray like Chernobyl. But if we are the wolves so be it. We can run around naked and howl at the moon at night. What lovely prose, both of you!


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