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Narnia Solaces

Thu, 8 Feb 2024, 08:15 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

We devoured the Narnia books, my brother and I, when we were young. My aunt had given them to all four cousins. My brother read them faster than the rest of us. That was years ago. Of all the wonder in those books, two images remain strikingly vivid.

1. Lily Pads

At the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Reepicheep climbed over the side of the ship to a rowboat. The ship could go no further, so he rowed alone toward the rim of the world. The surface of the water was green with lily pads extending to the horizon.

Once upon a time during a summer in Michigan, we paddled a canoe thru what felt like an infinite expanse of lily pads. We pulled hard on our paddles, barely making forward progress to what in a way was the end of our world where the lake water ran over a small dam down to Cooper Creek. Our canoe would go no further.

In the summer, they spray herbicides on the lake to counter the algae blooms that come from fertilized lawn runoff, herbicides that kill the algae and the lily pads and anything else green. I wonder about the far end of the lake where the lily pads used to thrive. I wonder what it will look like when summer comes. 

Last year, they seemed better than the year before. Perhaps the men in hazmat suits throttled their spraying. That gives me solace, and I look forward to the lake this summer.

2. Burnt Civilization

In The Magician’s Nephew, upon stepping into a pool in the wood between the worlds, Digory and Polly found themselves in an empty city. There was only a pathetic queen alone in the emptiness beneath a dim glow of a dying sun, a place whose time was over. The silent desolation haunts me to this day.

And then I stop to think about what this place will be like as the planet broils, whether it be from changing climate or an end-of-life sun much later. I wonder what it will be like for the last of us to linger. What will it be like to remain as Earth nears its end? As the rivers run dry. As the rains stop. As the heat soars. I try to imagine what I would do, and then I think that we are doing it.

We are doing it, you and I. You with your lovingly tended tomatoes and broccoli bursting forth and the other seeds waiting to germinate in the safety of the shelter you provide them. Me with my sticks and piles of wood and other hidey-holes where leaves might stay damp and the little creatures find refuge from the heat. We are doing it. And it gives me solace, and I look forward the fruits of our labor this spring.

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License