No One Listens to Mom
For the holidays, the kids decided to visit old Mother Earth. They hadn't seen her in a while. So Janet, Harriet, John, and Peter all piled into John's new SUV and headed down the highway.
As they drove up the tree-lined street, they saw Mother Earth in the yard, surrounded by flowers and bees, and to their horror - weeds. The yard was full of weeds! When Mom stood up to wave, she looked a little stooped-over.
After a lot of hugs, they all went into the kitchen for tea and cookies. "I'm so glad to see you" She said, smiling.
"Mom, you look droopy" said janet. "Is there anything we can do?"
"Well, yes, there is, as a matter of fact."
"I know exactly what you need", interrupted John, the oldest and a successful pharmaceutical executive. "Let's take you in for a checkup and get some tests run - maybe you need some medications."
"Good thinking, John", said Peter who had made a lot of money on real estate. "But I think this place could really use some work. While you are at the clinic, I can cut down that oak tree outside. And I know a great exterminator who can get rid of e squirrels and spray for bugs too."
"No, no", said Janet, who owned a contracting company. "The first thing we need to do is pave over the yard. That would get rid of all the squirrels and solve the weed problems."
Harriet, a food blogger, piped up - "Have you looked in the fridge? There's nothing in there but acorns, compost pie and topsoil sausages. I can toss all that get some frozen dinners. Mom shouldn't be drinking rainwater, either - it doesn't have any flouride or chlorine."
"I can't believe she doesn't have a TV, said Janet. "How is she going to keep up with what is happening in the world? All she hears about is what animals and plants have to say, and they don't know what's really going on."
"That's not what I meant', murmured Mother Earth, looking alarmed, but the kids all started talking about the best medical treatments and the logistics of getting the cement mixer in the neighborhood and how to get wifi in the house.
Finally, they all agreed on a course of action - "OK - then it's settled", said John. "Let's get going"..
They all stood up, but Mother Earth stayed put. They all looked at her.
Finally she said "No. That's not what I need."
Mother Earth patted the table and said, Will you please listen to me for a minute? No one ever hears a word I say."
"That's because we are young and know more that you do", said John, trying not to sound patronizing. But he sat down anyway. So did the others.
"You all have ideas, and I appreciate the thoughts, but they aren't going to work for me. After all, I am 6 billion years old and I have been getting along fine all this time."
"But, Mom, your lifestyle is old fashioned" protested Peter, frowning.
"I miss topsoil and trees. And especially the animals", said Mother Earth wistfully. There used to be so many of them. Now it's just roads and buildings and you hardly ever come out to see me any more. I think your little devices are more interesting than poor old Mom.
"But Mom, seriously, you don't mean you want us to drop our phones and our whole civilization and become a bunch of hunter gatherer savages!" said Peter indignantly".
"That's not what I meant at all. I'm just sad that you work so hard and don't have time to pay attention to what is really going on. Come on, I'll show you...
They all looked surprised but followed Mom out to the yard. Remember when you used to play out here? Long ago you knew the names of all the plants you now call weeds. That squirrel over there is the great great grandson of your playmates in the woods.
"Hey, I remember them" , said John. "I used to climb those trees out back and collect the acorns, too."
"Me, too", said Janet. "We made acorn pies pies and got muddy and waded in the stream. "
"Remember the log bridge? And the little bugs with feet that walked on the water? And the turtle... I loved that turtle", said John. "I wonder if he's still there. Come on, let's go see..."
The kids were excited about visiting the places they remembered from childhood. But when they climbed down the hill to where the stream used to run there was no stream to be seen. Just a parking lot. The trees were all gone, replaced by low square buildings and concrete. Overhead, a haze covered the sun and power lines blocked the clouds. There was a distant roar from the highway.
They stood in shock, staring at the ghastly landscape. What had happened here?
"This is what is bothering me", said Mom.
Now, they were all sad. On the trip home, no one had much to say. The curving roads and smooth lawns of the city had lost their luster. John kept thinking about the turtle.
"Maybe she has a point", said Janet.