[by Jessica Lentz]
That day, the earth beneath our feet started shaking, out of the blue.
First it felt like a soft, murmuring vibration running through my body. I stopped in my steps, took out an earbud. Lifted my gaze. In a few seconds’ time, it became stronger. The murmur rose into a roaring cry tearing the air in two. With a sudden panic-stricken erectness, I looked up and down the Avenue de la Liberté. Cars were staggering to a halt, trembling as if scared for their lives. People were stumbling, losing balance. I remember seeing a dog seek refuge underneath a car parked along the street.
‘What in the bloody…’ I muttered. Was this an earthquake? Here in Luxembourg, of all places? Shaking off my momentary immobility, I stumbled into the doorway of a nearby building. Trembling, I fumbled through my bag, trying to reach my phone.
Then, something unexplainable happened, stopping me in my frantic movements. It can only be described as a violent flash striking me with a terrible, terrible thought. Or maybe not so much a thought, but a sensation running through my entire body like an electric current. It was like a foreign consciousness colonized my body for the brevity of an eye bat.
From the core of my being, out of a pure, mysterious knowing, I felt that it was her. Her. Gaia. At that moment in my life, I didn’t really think of the Earth as a single living, breathing entity. Yet I could feel her. She tapped into my psyche, conveying a message. She said that her protective ozone layer would dissolve in a matter of months, like a dandelion’s white, hazy crown. Finally, she would let go, after holding her breath for a very, very long time.
She left just as abruptly as she had come. In a flash, that is. With her gone, the earthquake stopped too. I shook my head, incredulous to what had just happened. My heart was thumping in my chest. I grappled to my feet and peaked into the street hesitatingly. All was quiet. I caught glimpses of people. They looked like they had seen a ghost.
This whole episode must sound like a fragment from a dream. I wouldn’t quite believe it myself if later on I didn’t find out that the entirety of humankind had experienced the same exact sensation as I had, at the same exact moment. She had intruded into all of us, without asking permission. Just like we had intruded and exploited her for the past decades, centuries.
From nurturing mother Earth to ruthless murderess – Gaia had managed to coerce world leaders to put her onto the very first spot of their priority lists in a matter of hours.
And I can’t help but wonder. I wonder whether their sudden action will weaken her resolve to let go of the ozone layer. Or whether she’s already looking upon us like Lot looked upon Sodom, an instant of compassion overcoming her before transforming into something else altogether, forever.