We Have Met the Enemy*

In common with most writers, I imagine, I start quite a few posts that don’t seem to go anywhere and end up in the draft drawer.  This drawer is a twin to the one that I have in the kitchen that is essentially a “never use this, don’t actually know what it is, but I’m sure it will come in handy some day” drawer.

paper-3033204_1280Every now and then I find myself out of ideas, but still with the itch to write.  I open up the draft drawer and root around in the cobwebs, hoping that the passing of time has rendered at least one piece of verbiage worthy of a second look.  Yes, it’s obvious that I am confusing writing with cheesemaking when time really does ripen something unfinished into something that can be sold for a high price.  My writing?  Not so much.

covid-4948866_1920Anyway, about two months ago the effects of Covid-19, the need for social distancing and the serious health-related procedures I was reluctantly adopting led to my writing the following:  

Call me cynical or delusional, but some days I think this virus is really a conspiracy. Not by the Democrats, Fake Media or (insert your favorite conspiracy theory here), but by the non-human inhabitants of the earth. Maybe they hope that thinning the herd by killing off the anti-science, anti-common sense and anti-everybody-who-isn’t-just-like-me-idiots, things will get better for the natural world.

And there it choked to a stop.  In the remote regions of my brain, the theme song from The Twilight Zone was starting to get louder and I had a fleeting image of myself with an aluminum colander on my head to block the waves from those alien ships that are hovering just above the atmosphere somewhere over Arizona.  

This morning, scrolling through Facebook to be sure I hadn’t missed anything important while sleeping last night, I came across an article by You can see the connection here, right, and understand why I opened up the draft drawer to find the post I left there back in June?  

Today, though, with a little more rational thought, all of these threads came together in a slightly different way.  When social distancing and stay-at-home was in full swing I came across a few articles about animals “taking over” the deserted streets of cities or other articles noting that there was much less pollution in the air over some major cities.  This all seemed like a good thing to me.  Maybe city folk wouldn’t be so happy about the animals, but certainly less air pollution would be welcome.  Several years ago I read a very interesting book “The World Without Us,” by Alan Weisman, that describes what would happen if humans suddenly disappeared.  Maybe I’m a strange sort of person, but it gives me comfort to know that the non-human and natural world will survive just fine without us, and actually would survive much better.  

So, are insects and bacteria and all the minute, sometimes invisible living organisms really capable of waging some kind of conscious war against us?  It’s a scary thought and hopefully is still the stuff of science fiction.  Even if they are not capable and never will be, the reality is that we humans are an invasive, self-absorbed and destructive species.  Our position at the top of the food chain is in serious jeopardy.  If we do not survive, my guess is it will not be due to some alien invasion, either from outer space or from within our own world, but from our greedy blindness to the needs of the Earth and all her creatures.  




©Martha Hurwitz, 8/11/20

*Pogo said “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  The phrase was originally used on a poster for Earth Day in 1970.  An interesting read on Walt Kelly and the development of the cartoon that made the phrase famous, can be found here.   



    • You’re welcome. I was interested to come across your article on this phrase. Some 40-odd years ago I spent several months in a furnished rented cabin in Vermont, whose owner had a complete collection of Pogo books. Spent many enjoyable hours in the swamp with Pogo!


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