Life was easier when I was younger. On my face grew arching pine trees, stretching into the sky. Grass grew freely, not in patches but in great swathing planes reaching into eternity. Animals would come to me, they would be born on me. I was a haven, and this filled me with such an enormous sense of fulfillment. I used to be necessary, a life-giver, a Gaia. From far and wide they would come but none would stay for long. They visit was transient, maybe for a night or two. A tranquil stay with me, where they could appreciate the air, the stars, the clear water, then move on to wherever they were going. I liked these people, they were courteous and didn’t stay long enough for me to get annoyed with them. Of course some would leave excrement on me, but that is only to be expected. By and large, what they could clean up, they did. They would leave and let the animals take back their rightful throne. Dusting off their shoulders, the animals would rustle out of their nests and frolic in the now empty fields. It was a peaceful time, an easier time.
Many years ago a group of travelers came, clubs in hand and curious peering children skipping along behind them. I figured them to be the usual troupe; just passing through on their way to somewhere important. One man took the lead, and swinging his club back and forth ordered the others to stop with impressive dominance. It was hard to say if he was taking the lead or rather maintaining his already strong position of influence. The children slumped down on their already reclining mothers; heads found a pillow in a belly. The men huddled in a group, sprung on their haunches. They had long hair reaching to their shoulder blades, and strong violent bodies. I was hesitant about these visitors at first, something told me to be weary. However, I withheld any reservations I had and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Many of my best guests had been the least likely, if one is to judge by appearance. I told myself to dash any prejudice.
The first night did little to calm my nerves. The men, instead of relaxing and gulping down my natural beauty, went on a hunt. This was not a hunt for game, or even vegetation, but rather for wood. In other words; for building materials. I had never seen this before and it worried me a great deal. Did these travelers want to stay here, to live here? No one had made such a decision and the repercussions fluttered my heart. I did not want any humans to live here. Animals were more to my taste, they didn’t quite posses the mental faculty to do any real harm to me. I had seen what humans had done though, I knew what they were capable of. You may claim that humans are simply animals but it doesn’t make much sense beyond the purely technical argument. They posses something unnatural, a will to create and destroy. They want to have more power than God gave them, and I didn’t want to encourage this to happen on my face. I liked it how it was.
My fears, unfortunately, came true. In steady rows the men carried the wood from the little forest to their little camp. Not one tree was spared, not my favourite nor my least favourite; they showed no mercy and clearly had no consideration for me. The neat covering over my face was depleted within three days and a huge transformation was underway. I had no say in the matter, of course. I wondered whether they even realised the distress they were causing, of course no. The grass died in well trodden paths; from their camp to the forest, from the camp to where they pissed and shat, from the forest to the river where they bathed. Yellow tracks of dead vegetation wound their way over my scalp. I could feel them walking down these preordained paths, the slow eventuality of it gave me such a horrible sensation. They were like mosquitoes flitting over my face, yet I had no fingers with which to flick them off.
Soon they had built their houses and halls, churches and pubs. The women gave birth to more parasites and any traveler passing through was inevitably sucked into the allure of a civilised life. Great throngs now trod these paths, which multiplied by the week. I wanted to shake my head and fling off these unwelcome guests, I wanted to sneeze and shoot them into the stratosphere. Alas, I did not have the function to do this. How cruel it is to have no control over your fate yet be subjected to it, to know that it is coming and that it is inevitable. That it is the very opposite of what you dreamed of as a child. That it dashes all your aspirations and smears them all over your face. Cruel indeed.
Now it is today that I am writing. The folk on me began digging into my face in recent years. They take some materials from my head and return to the surface with them. What they see in these objects I don’t know but I fear that it is doing irreparable harm to me. They have bored holes which they run trains through at lightning speed. I can feel the rumble vibrating through me almost always. Under great obelisks they dig into the ground to support the enormous weight now standing above them. Clearly the surface of my face wasn’t enough, they wanted more, they want to seize my entirety. I know that soon there will be none of me left. I hope they realise soon where their precious wood and rock comes from. If it is not for me then they have no future. They will have nothing except their unfulfilled dreams and broken promises to their children. A lack of foresight is what has made this, stupidity if you like, and now I have to pay for it. Sadly they will too.
Before, we lived in harmony. We had two happy groups. The humans. Me and the animals. Now I am dying, as are the animals. The humans will too. They need me yet they are killing me. I repeat, they are killing the thing they need yet I cannot reach out and tell them this massive error that they are committing! It is so frustrating as I slowly wilt away, I want to save these people that I once loved before. I fear that it is too late. Their eyes are blinkered and what has been done is now all that there will be.