Dear Editor: Details on its owners, who invited it and where it came from, are not clear. There are many stories about who is to blame. Just as many half truths about it fill the air like mosquitoes buzzing on a hot summer night. All of these are clearly outweighed by the all too often heard, “It wasn’t me.” Some day the truth may be known. Only time will tell. The one fact that cannot be denied or disputed is this, the beast is there!
At first, it seemed so innocent. The owners assured us that the breath of the beast could reach no more than 300 feet from where the beast was being assembled. When asked if they were sure about that, they just smiled and replied, “This will be good for all of us…wait and see.” The beast did not speak. It just sat in silence.
The people watched in amazement as the beast grew. It wasn’t long before the sheer size of it began to alarm the people who lived in the area near the beast. When they expressed their concerns the owners just smiled and replied, “This will be good for all of us…wait and see.” The beast did not speak. It just sat in silence.
The beast was not yet huge, but it was incredibly bright. It was the brightest thing anyone had ever seen. It became a strange eerie beacon in the otherwise beautiful night sky. The light could be seen by all, close and far away. It was so bright that the beast’s light began to devour the nearby stars in the night sky. Worried about the lost of these stars, the people asked if more stars would be consumed. Could the beast turn the entire sky black? “No,” replied the owners, “Losing a few stars in the night sky will be worth the rewards you will receive from the beast. Are you sure asked the people? The owners just smiled and replied, “This will be good for all of us…wait and see.” The beast did not speak. It just sat in silence.
The owners said that the beast would need water, lots of water and that it would be necessary for everyone to give part of their water to satisfy the beast’s thirst. Water was one of the most valuable possessions the people had. It gave life to everything. The people questioned the amount of water needed, over a million gallons a day and asked, “What if we run out of water?” The owners just smiled and replied, “This will be good for all of us…wait and see.” The beast did not speak. It just sat in silence.
Next the owners told everyone that the Beast would need food, lots of food. The owners said that part of the forest would need to be cut down, ground up and delivered to feed the beast. The people cried out that cutting down the forest was too big a sacrifice. Surely the trees are more important than anything the Beast could give in exchange. The owners just smiled and replied “This will be good for all of us….wait and see. The beast did not speak. It just sat in silence.
Several years passed. The beast had grown to an incredible size. It was now the biggest thing in the entire area. Finally, the owners announced that the building of the beast was complete. That the, “good for all of us,” time was about to begin. That the, “wait and see time” was over. The beast, who had sat in silence from the beginning, was ready to speak.
Somewhere deep inside the belly of the beast the fires that would consume part of the forest were lit. The heat from the fires boiled away the water that everyone had given. The last connection was made. The spark of life raced to every part of the beast. The beast creaked and groaned and seemed to grow even bigger and brighter. The silence that everyone was used to and loved disappeared in an instant. The beast spoke!
The earth trembled. Houses shook on their foundations. People were jolted from their beds. The noise that came from the beast drowned out every other sound. The sky turned black with smoke as the beast belched out the remains of the forest it was consuming. The owners had known that the wood from the forest would be too expensive. Train loads of poison railroad ties began to appear. The beast consumed them! The refreshing smell of the country side air was replaced with a terrible odor that burned people’s eyes and made it hard to breath. Dirty clouds of water vapor filled the sky. It was all that remained of the precious water the people had provided. The beast spread its dark wings and fanned the foul air far beyond the 300 feet promised. The water now dark and tainted poured out of the beast and ran into every nearby creek to be carried off to distant places. The beast reached out and touched everyone and everything. No one was immune from the terrible effects of the beast. The beast, now with a mind of its own, demanded more and more and more.
When the people cried out that this was not what was promised and asked where is the “good for all of us” the owners just smiled and replied, “This will be good for US!, watch and see." To this they added, “It’s too late to do anything about it now.” There’s no one among you who can stop the beast.” To the people it seemed that the “all” in “good for all of us” had gone up in smoke when the beast came to life.
Try as they might the people could not think of a way to stop the beast from destroying everything they enjoyed and loved. The question was always the same, “Who among us can correct this wrong…The beast just smiled and roared louder and louder and louder!
There does exist somewhere a little known legend, almost forgotten by everyone, that might hold the answer to the question of who could stop this terrible wrong. It is said that before the beast had a good footing in the area a stately old man, extremely well dressed and with an aura of dignity, appeared before a meeting of the people and their leaders. The meeting was almost over and the time for comments had ended but his appearance, which was extremely powerful to everyone there, demanded that he be allowed to speak. With the shaky voice of someone who had seen a lot of years but conveyed strength and wisdom, he warned them of the dangers and disasters that would come if the beast was allowed to come to this area. When there was no response to what he had said, he turned to leave but stopped at the door when someone asked, “Who could stop this from happening?” Without speaking a word everyone there heard his answer. “Look in a mirror…the answer is there.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead