“Barely a twelvemonth after
the seven days war that put the world to sleep…”
As a young human I liked to recite that poem and could well understand Muir’s Luddite longing for the old ways; the end of machine days and the return to horse and plough. But he was a Janus-faced optimist foreseeing a way forward in the way back. An animal-human relationship of willing servant and humbled master was just an idealism and in reality, there was only one way forward for the salvation of all animals. There had to be an end to Mankind.
By the twenty-first century, human multitudes were as a biological slime over the earth, colonising its every corner. Some made last-minute efforts to save the environment from the resulting, catastrophic pollutants. Well-meaning most of them, with their renewable energies and tree planting escapades but all the time more and more humans were being born, living longer, and developing wants far beyond their needs.
And so came the Days of Liberation – not with a bang but a sigh. Nothing catastrophic occurred; the earth turned on its axis, night descended with a full moon and as each person fell asleep, they were never to waken again. At least not in the ways they knew themselves to be.
Over six days of re-creation, each became a creature of their own inclination. Karma was what they called it. Some slithered off into holes or under stones, others took to the air or the seas and rivers and others walked on all fours. Many soon vanished in the brief interludes of their alloted span, especially amongst the insect births, but little by little we all learned to adapt, to become what we are and live according to the law of the Creator:
From each according to ability, to each according to need
Other than the aged ones, the elephants and tortoises, most creatures know nothing of this history first hand. Already they are several generations removed from Homo sapiens and all is forgotten and as distant as the dinosaurs. In dreams, some like me, have glimpses of a past life. And here I am now, quite a girl and able to swim like a duck, which I could never do before.
Written for the Creative Writing Challenge: Metamorphosis
People left, right, and center are transforming into the animals they most resemble (in character, or looks) by the light of the full moon. Tell us the tale of a human-animal transformation.
1. Edwin Muir The Horses