Monday, January 14, 2013


Some items came to my attention in the last few days that seem strangely connected. 


In the previous two days I posted items about heatwaves and duststorms. Now we're experiencing large numbers of bushfires.

In yesterday’s online Sydney Morning Herald there was a photograph that will give some indication of the immensity of some of the fire fronts of the fires. Note the scale of the cottage compared to the wall of smoke and flame . . . 

Consider that heading your way. It reminds me of the 1970’s poster that gave instructions as to what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. The last two points were 

6. Immediately upon seeing the brilliant flash of nuclear explosion, bend over and place your head firmly between your legs. 

7. Then kiss your ass goodbye. 


Last Saturday Byter Doug had emailed me a quote by Albert Einstein: 

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” 

That quote came to mind again with Item #3.


Between Items 1 and 2 above, I was looking up something and came across Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” again: 

Some say the world will end in fire, 
Some say in ice. 
From what I’ve tasted of desire 
I hold with those who favour fire. 
But if it had to perish twice, 
I think I know enough of hate 
To say that for destruction ice 
Is also great 
And would suffice. 

Published in 1920 in Harper’s Magazine, it is one of his best known poems. 

In a matter of fact tone he discusses the possible ends of the world by fire and ice.  (I also happened to read the poem again just after watching Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”). 

For Frost fire is a metaphor for desire and ice a metaphor for hate. 

At the time of writing, scientists were of two minds: one group believed that the end of the world would come via a meltdown from the fiery core of the earth; others thought it would be by way of another ice age. 

Frost sees passionate desire within the world, equated with fire, as being a possible cause for the end of the world, just as the other cause might be indifference and hate, equated with cold. 

How much more appropriate is the poem to the current age than to 1920? Open a newspaper to see examples of Frost’s fire and ice: religious intolerance; wars; crises; massacres of innocents. 

In the end, Frost suggests, it doesn’t really matter, both fire (passion, greed, hunger for power, religious extremism) and ice (hate, terrorism, indifference) are equally capable of destroying the world. 


Happy trails, amigos.

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