THE VIEW FROM MY PLACE: Sands of time
The little boy, who couldn't have been more than 5, maybe six, sits defiantly in the huge hole he dug all by himself in the loose sand. The tide, which had been way out when he began the process of making an unstoppable fort, was now racing in.
The boy's dad could see how fast the tide was coming in said that it was time to move back away from the incoming water. The boy kept digging; confident that the sand walls would hold back the water he refused to move.
A man in his early 30s is driving down the road a little too quickly. He's in his Ford diesel pickup truck. He wouldn't be caught dead in one of those Japanese rigs. The confederate flag sticker that adorned his back window had faded some over time, but was still easily identified.
He had altered his beautiful, white truck so that, on demand, he was able to perform a function known as Rolling Coal. With the flick of a switch he's able to have the truck spew thick, black smoke from the dual exhaust pipes that went vertically behind the cab.
He was very proud of the black smoke that he could create. He felt that it was his way of expressing himself and letting liberals and environmentalists his view on how global warming was going to be the end of the world. He firmly believed global warming was nothing more than a grand hoax on being played on America by lefties. One of their proposed, hateful remedies was to eliminate the burning of coal. His shiny, chrome pipes spewing out black smoke served as his defiant gesture to this bogus global warming scare.
The relentless tide cared little for the extraordinary efforts the boy put in to creating his fortress. The waves although small in height and intensity slowly and relentlessly marched further and further up the beach. They proved way more powerful than then boy's firmly packed sand. Within minutes the hole was filled with salt water; the fortress dissolved into nothingness.
The owner of the Ford who never missed an opportunity to flip his switch and be one of the Rolling Coalers owned a modest home that was not all that far away from the water. He had watched over the past few years as his neighbors wasted their money on constructing cement retaining walls between their homes and the water. He would sit in his chair on his porch that sorrowfully needed painting and contemplate how these people could spend money that he didn't have on something so useless. Even If he did have additional resources he would not waste them on a barrier to hold back the water from flooding him out. He pondered the ribbing and trash talking he would receive from his friends if he were to follow suit with his neighbors. His friends would see the wall as a fool's errand. He was well aware of what these tree-hugging neighbors felt about his constant use of the switch and his ability to spew black smoke from his truck. One neighbor has the audacity to make mention of his practice. He'd been waiting for that moment to arrive and was prepared for his comeback; maybe you should put a switch in your rig and join us.
The day came when it became apparent to everyone that the once stable seas were, in fact, rising and doing so at an alarming rate. Those who had never believed that the seas were rising and had been suggesting that we need more time to study the problem were becoming concerned. The people who had been screaming about global warming were still screaming only a little louder.
Scientists were declaring that it may very well already be too late to reverse the process of the rising seas, but at the very least we should start doing something; anything right now. The time to stall and delay action had long since passed.
The defiant owner of the Ford diesel truck with the monster smokestacks that continued to spew black smoke when the switch was flicked refused to accept the reality that surrounded him. He fled down the highway; black smoke obliterating any signs of the truck that was creating the obnoxious fumes. If you listened carefully you could hear him laughing above the roar of his exhaust pipes as defiant as he had ever been.
The boy grew to be a man. He long ago ceased the flow of tears at the demise of his marvelous mountain of sand by the incoming tide. Those tears are now replaced with tears of sorrow at the loss of the entire beach where, as a young boy of only about four or five he had built a fortress to stave off the water.
Everywhere his eyes landed he could see the destruction the water had caused. Some houses were just gone. Others were about to join those houses that had marched slowly into the sea. If only he had known then what he now knows.
Bob Stannard is a Banner columnist.
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