After the Gold Rush
Rain was late, again. It was coming for sure. I’ve seen on the news the frontal wave of rains and storms rolling across Europe, wreaking havoc everywhere and slowly making its way toward my corner of the world, but it was late to arrive. It was supposed to arrive around noon, but outside some dark clouds, there was nothing falling from the sky. Then, after several hours, some weak moisture was finally seen in the air and on the ground. Then finally, an hour ago, heavy rains came down. I could finally breathe easier, the ground could breathe easier, swallowing the life-giving water, the plants could breathe easier and sipping the water from their leaves and through stems and roots.
And that is all nature needs — water, and sunshine of course. It is all that is required for perpetuation of natural life. And we are hell-bent on destroying it. Destroying it for us and our lives and our comfort and future generations and the future possibility of reproduction. And I thought about this song by Neil Young — “After the Gold Rush”. I have loved this song since I first heard it about thirty years ago, just as an amazing piece of songwriting and wordsmithing. And just from an aesthetic point of view, as a simple and haunting song in a work of musical art. But this song is more than just an example of the artistry of Neil Young, it is actually an environmental song. I think one of the first songs from the 1970s that took on this subject. And the message of this song is correct — we can hurt nature, but we will be actually hurting ourselves. Nature doesn’t need us. It was doing fine for hundreds of millions of years before we showed up. And it will be fine after we are long gone.