Last Life of Leaves

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Last Life of Leaves

In the beginning, swirling in the base primordial soup on a barren planet, chaotic elements combined and life appeared. First drifting, then swimming and then crawling from the seas, life began to slither, then walk and then fly. Some took root while others took flight and remaining took shade.

Finally, from this fertile ecosystem, life suddenly began to think. Through the pure process of consciousness, humans elevated themselves above the others and in a blink of an eye took over the Earth.

Mankind expanded from caves and wandering to huts and conquering. Cities began to spring up everywhere and grow exponentially into the wilderness like some leviathan eating up everything in its path. Industry consumed the rest of life as some were killed for food, some were cut down for materials and others were destroyed by mistake.

Somewhere amidst this destruction, though, mankind became aware that their future depended on the survival of the rest of the planet as well.

At first, that meant cutting down fewer rainforests and protecting species for extinction. But this was not enough, so man began to use the natural resources that the planet had made freely available for millennia, most notably the Sun.

Oil and coal became unfashionable, then illegal and then were forgotten. Nuclear was abandoned even quicker. And from humble beginnings, solar power rose to cover the planet. Instead of rainforests hungrily consuming the sunlight, endless solar farms of silver, shiny panels were built chasing the Sun around the Earths rotation.

But things did not get better. Mankind’s beast always needed feeding as it expanded upwards and outwards. Other life on the planet slowly disappeared, from the tiny honeybees buzzing between flowers to the massive blue whales frolicking in the dying, polluted ocean being churned up by shipping engines.

In desperation, mankind turned to their legions of revered scientists. These scientists were beings of great intelligence, but little wisdom. Thus, the scientists turned back to the fleeing forms of nature for inspiration, little understanding the risks. Biologies were forged in laboratories as primordial soups were cooked up from the furnaces of dying species and cold matter.

At first, it worked; trees were forged and planted, animals were built and the Earth got a little less silent. But, as with such things, the flaws took some time to appear and, in the end, the trees wilted and died, the animals could not mate and perished, and mankind panicked.

Now armed with the knowledge, but not yet with the wisdom, the scientists turned to mankind’s own biology and began changing things. Perhaps, these misguided men reasoned, if we cannot change our environment to help us survive, we can change ourselves to survive our environment?

Of all the species, the one that lived the longest and needed the least is that of the tree. The barren Earth also had little to give but the sunlight shining down on its miles of wasteland and silted water deep below its blackened surface.

Thus the scientists began splicing photosynthesis into the human genome. They started moulding themselves to survive the consequences of their previous generations’ decisions. Mankind will live on sunlight alone, they proclaimed, immensely proud of themselves.

All it took was three generations before mankind was no more. The Earth had finally given up on them, the food and fresh water had run out and resources were no more. All that remained where those few who had consented to the biological alteration that left them alive, deeply rooted in this barren land with impotent seeds falling to die in the dust.

On that silent planet, these sentinels were the last and, one by one, they too slowly died. The water to their roots turning toxic, the dust in the sky starving them of their food and they withered away to oblivion.

Thus, on one fateful day, the last leaf fell from the last dying branch of the last sentinel on Earth, and she closed her eyes for the last time.

And then the planet was silent.

Dust blew and the oceans raged, slamming against moving shores. Continents drifted and volcanoes erupted spilling their rich loads over the planets. All things eventually slipped back into the ocean and drifted to its dark, silent depths.

And, eventually, in this new primordial soup, chaotic elements combined in mysterious ways. The results of this chaos then opened their eyes for the first time, and the planet was silent no more.

After all, life will always survive, but it will not always be the same life.

 

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