Monday, March 14, 2016

Cooling the Planet

Ides of March, 80 degrees outside, sun on the horizon, chickadees trilling their two-note song, ran-dal, ran-dal, and he’s angry . . .again.
“It’s going to be a beautiful day,” she chirps. “Listen. The birds are calling to you. Ran-dal . . .Ran-dal.”
“It’s too goddamned warm for March.”
“You love summer.”
“Not in March.” He refuses to be happy about clear evidence that the planet is headed for destruction before their grandchildren turn 40.
“We don’t have grandchildren.” She has pointed this out more than once. She could also have said, we don’t have children, but that was a sore point with them both, one of those places rubbed so raw that to look at it or acknowledge it would pierce an artery, a flow that couldn't be stopped. So they talk about other disappointments and impending catastrophes.
“I agree with you,” she says. “You know I do, but . . . but . . .” She almost says there’s nothing we can do, but enjoy the beautiful day God gave us, but doesn’t.
“There is something we can do,” he says.
“We do a lot,” she says. “We recycle.”
“God,” he yells, “separating paper, bottles, plastics is not going to save the planet.”
Yes, she knows that, but what else could she do? 
A thought--they’re not contributing to the population. “When we die, there’ll be two less people,” she says. “That will help.”
“Yes,” he says, cheering slightly, “and one less car.”
“Fewer unrecyclable pizza boxes.”
“A house off the grid.” (His will stipulates that the house be razed upon their death and their city lot made into an urban forest—not park, forest.)
“Less water wasted,” she says.
“Less oxygen inhaled,” he says.
“Less dust in the air from all our walking,” she says.
“Less hot air from all our arguing about the atmosphere,” he says.
“Hot air that dooms the planet,” she says.
“Better stop talking,” he says.
And so they do.

© 2016 Kathleen Coskran

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