“The heart, class, the heart is with the Earth. It is up to us to define how the heart and planet coalesce. The way to do it is to commune with Nature. Our hearts must sing songs to Mother Earth. With every beat, we get closer. Closer.”
Holtzclaw Wert finished his sermon and looked about the classroom for questions and comments. He twiddled his stylus with his hand and collapsed the digital projector with a single swish of his fingertips. He wore a brown and grey tunic with sandals. He was a drab painting; he looked like blobs and smears of color sploshed together to form sort of creature. Wert swayed back and forth swishing about in every movement. He fielded his first query.
A man with flint gray eyes that contained a mixture of confusion and sincerity stood. “Yes, professor Wert, well if the heart is the source of emotion, then why is it that when someone is in emotional crisis, they seek psychiatric care?"
Eyes darting around the room and then trained on the questioner, Wert stood still. “In actuality, the heart governs blood. It may very well be a machine. But our existence is predicated on the fact that we must feel and our heart lets us know what particular emotion we experience.”
The questioner showed a quizzical facial expression before lowering himself back into his chair.
“Are there any other takers? Who else is brave enough to speak up?”
A youngish girl with freckles and a dainty frame stood up to pose a query.
“Professor, isn’t the planet a place for man to exploit? I mean, shouldn’t we rule Nature and have everything that the Earth has to offer us?”
A dry cackle burbled up in Wert’s throat.
“Tell me...do you not see the majesty of a newt? Does the spotted owl not evoke a sense of splendor? The great redwoods guard the rest of the forest with their mighty bodies. Exploitation should have no role in man’s relationship with Nature.” Wert summoned a robot to give him a bottle of water. He slurped it down and sent the robot back to the rear of the classroom.
The Water Necessary
“We have time for just one more question. Is there another?” Wert asked. The students searched about themselves. A last courageous soul stood up to be recognized.
“Ah, yes, Mr. Adley. I will take you as the final question.” Wert leaned on the digital projector.
“What do you believe in?” Sam Adley asked.
“I believe in this planet. I believe in the fact that Nature ought to command men, not the other way around. I laugh when earthquakes disrupt businesses. I rejoice at hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes which destroy homes and churches. I’m not an atheist. My god is the ecology. I worship at the throne of the environment. May mercy and grace follow every humpback whale, every blade of green grass, and every mountain untouched by man’s grubby hands.”
Stunned, the class sat in momentary silence. Wert resumed.
“Your assignment for this evening: 1,200 words on why elephant dung should be our source for hydration. Dismissed.” As the students filed out of the classroom, Wert collected his leather satchel and tablet and smartphone. He rode his bicycle away from the campus. Adorned on the vehicle, bumper stickers and tags announced, “choose solar” and “wind is the way.” Wert cycled up to his home which featured large solar panels on the roof and a miniature wind turbine, a compost site, and an outhouse. No running water coursed through the residence. Instead, a well provided all of the water necessary for Wert and his wife to use. In the family room, a state of the art entertainment center took up most of the space in the tiny room. His wife, Idette, washed their infant child’s diapers by hand while listening to a library of over a million songs on her smartphone. Wert stepped into the kitchen and viewed his bride soaking their son’s dirty nappies in murky water.
Other People's Property
“Idette, my love, have you seen my bag? It was right here on this table where I had left it.”
“I’ve no idea, dear. Maybe you left it at your job and forgot about it.”
Wert paced a bit. He shoved his hands into his pockets and removed himself from the kitchen. He swore. He returned to the kitchen.
“All that I’m saying, love, is that you not disturb my bag. It has sensitive material inside of it.”
“I’ve told you, I’ve not seen it dear.”
Wert’s face became a brake light.
“I’ve told you on more than one occasion not to disturb my things. Now what am I supposed to do with my work?"
Idette frowned and shrugged. Wert approached his wife and kneed her in the thigh. A tear streaked Idette’s face.
“Until you learn to respect other people’s property, you are on punishment,” he said.
Idette just cowered in the corner of the room and sobbed. Their child, two-year-old Adal shrieked from his crib.