Trees as big as buildings began to burn, a thick green smoke billowing from their lush canopy. What little fauna that had remained behind, suffering the sounds of a million horses whirring in tight four cycle unison, now scattered westward to avoid the oncoming blaze. For many, it was too late: the first fire was merely a flashpoint, and thousands of acres were lit in a predictable and safe pattern, dooming the creatures to Hell itself. The experts quietly assured some of the more hesitant firefighters that they did not suffer, it was not in their emotional capacity.
As the blaze continued to grow ever further from the rising sun, a helicopter flew overhead, taking photos of the carnage. They were working for an environmental group that had been protesting the burnings since they had begun almost twenty years prior. The pictures were not incriminating - the fires were quite legal, supported by a government where green was merely a synonym for American dollars - but they were damning. The tiger flew on, slowly disappearing out of sight.
The reports had been splashed across newspapers everywhere:
"Millions Of Acres Destroyed!"
"Global Warming Increasing, Ecologists Warn
The government cast them aside with cursory press releases, demeaning them with terms like "naysayer," "liberal," and "Chicken Little." They had counter-testimonials from experts who pointed out the need for further infrastructure in a rapidly expanding economy; the need to increase the land available for cultivation, to help increase export revenues; and, most importantly, the jobs that would be created by this rich new land. Who would argue against the creation of jobs? Indeed, the government had the full support of its fellow countries in the Western Hemisphere, applauded for their forward thinking and brave new economics.
One tiny flower sat oblivious to the rapidly approaching fires. She and her fellow flowers had existed in that very spot for nearly two billion years. She had no idea her time was short; she was staving off a cold chill blowing in from the north. She was a very unique flower - she had two more petals than all of her brothers and sisters. Yet she did not brag nor boast; she merely stood tall and awaited springtime, when pollination would resume. She was Mother Nature's loveliest daughter.
Within minutes her dreams were dashed to fiery ruins. As she saw the orange ball and felt her chill disappear in a blast of scalding air, she knew that nature had lost its final battle with man, its sole protector. She carried the history of the whole world inside her, and she now knew the years of growth had climaxed. They had been handed the proverbial keys to the kingdom, and their selfishness was striking. They had fought nature's constancy and, when they found they could not change it, they merely sought to destroy it; a trifle, a hitch, a parking lot, nothing more. As the first of the flowers caught ablaze and began to wilt into its final blackened tomb, the flower could only weep silently. They did not forgive us, she thought. We will surely die.
It was the hottest November in Yellowstone on record.