~~ Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five"American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses, took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation."The formation then flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks."The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again and made everything and everybody as good as new."When the bombers got back to their base, the steel containers were taken from their racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mostly women who did this work."The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again."
Wendell Berry wrote:
"It is the destruction of the world in our own lives that drives us half insane, and more than half. To destroy that which we were given in trust: how will we bear it? It is our own bodies that we give to be broken, our bodies existing before and after us in clod and cloud, worm and tree, that we, driving or driven, despise in our greed to live, our haste to die. To have lost, wantonly, the ancient forests, the vast grasslands is our madness, the presence in our very bodies of our grief."
What else is there left to say?
(Originally posted to Multiply August 29, 2008)