It devours everything in its path, without discrimination. The mansions of the mega-rich give themselves for tinder just as eagerly as the shanties in the slums. Neither a crystal clear infinity pool nor the stagnant puddle in an old abandoned tire are any match for the insatiable flames. We must evacuate alike; we all will suffer loss, equal now if only in our devastation. Our memories go up in smoke as we flee. What are we running to? I fear there is no future. Nothing can withstand this white hot inferno.
Along the fire’s crackling edge, the ground seethes with refugees, and not just here. Fleeing, flying, fearful, their terror moves them forward. Limping along on singed tender paws, a sooty fox wanders homeless. I sob a prayer, both for him and for his comrades lost in the charred Taiga. Bandaged koalas and sprawled lifeless kangaroos stab pangs of agony through my breaking heart. I wail for the bears and the deer whose mountains are ablaze. And the endangered of the Amazon, teetering on the edge of extinction as their home goes up in smoke—they haunt me with their screeching dirge. What have we done?
Far behind the blinding epicenter and that advancing battalion of relentless marching flames lies the terrifying aftermath. Nothing left but crispy smouldering ground and toothpick trees, no life to find, no life spared. Everywhere I look is charred. Shells of burnt-out houses jut out of the coals. The earth is a casualty of a war we started, a one-sided battle against our own selfish arrogance. Here in no man’s land the air is laden with hopelessness and loss.
I choke and cough, smothered by the lump in my throat. Is it grief? Or is it the incessant dusky cloud that hangs heavy evidence of our errors across the sky? Each gasping breath of the caustic smog stings from the back of my nostrils down, down into the depths of my lungs. My chest constricts to think that I inhale the remnants of all these lost lives. Their smoky tendrils drift and spread with the wind, creeping thousands of miles to poison lungs and burn eyes.
The oppressive heat evaporates my tears faster than they can run—a drop of water against the whole of hell. More of us need to feel. More of us need to care. More of us need to cry. More of us need to change.
Can the tears of a billion souls stop this raging fire?