Saturday, June 29, 2019


photo: Sergiy Gaschak

Thirty years after
the humans left this place,
thriving wildlife have reclaimed
the site as sanctuary,
a green and verdant forest
covering the land,
now one of the rare places
on the planet
where wild creatures
live undisturbed.

How sad,
that it takes a nuclear event
to provide safe haven
for wild creatures,
that it takes our absence
to make their lives
more possible.

After cataclysm,
after the ocean
covers coastal shores,
after flood, wildfire,
drought and famine,
after climate refugees
have walked a thousand miles
and fallen
off the edge of the world,

it gives me comfort
to imagine
- slowly, in barely perceptible 
increments of time -
greenness unfolding
across the land once more,
wolf and bear and deer
creeping back,
finding no trace of us,
making their way,
hesitant yet unhindered,
as in the earliest days 
of our collective memory -
the garden unfolding
all its beauty
under friendly 
benign skies
once more.

credit: Valeriy Yurko

for Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads: to imagine the world after a nuclear event. My thoughts went to Chernobyl. I remember I was afraid, back then, that a nuclear explosion would trigger other reactors in a chain reaction. Instead, it is rather unsettling to know that, thirty years later, because humans left the area, it is now thriving as a wildlife sanctuary, one place on the planet where wild creatures get to live undisturbed.

An article at Blue Dot Magazine states, "Humans, it seems, are worse than a nuclear disaster. A long-term study of animal populations around Chernobyl has found wildlife to be flourishing in the absence of human activity. A team of scientists surveyed the human exclusion zone surrounding the site, observing large animals like deer and elk to be in abundance despite lingering radiation."


  1. I totally agree. Humans are worse. We are twins today with our posts. Hooray!

  2. There is a lesson in this... how fragile we are are... I do really feel positive about nature's capability to recover... we should be caring more about ourselves and se our own (limited) place.

  3. the earth will always win - triumphant over humankind (or should that be human-cruelty?) --- even if it takes cataclysmic events -- and yes, isn't it absolutely remarkable, that despite the radiation and the effects, which have affected the wildlife population, the animals and plants have adapted -- we are ever so slow to change our ways ... perhaps there will be "ultimate justice" for the earth again

  4. Sad indeed that it takes a nuclear event....... I hope that Chernobyl was a lesson learned and that we humans will do better now.

  5. Yes. Those images you paint of unfettered animal habitation are beautiful.

  6. Humanity is perfectly suited to the Earth but sadly is unable to share to world with other creatures or even other humans. We are in fact natures big mistake!

  7. Amen. Humans are lousy when it comes to deep time -- it's all about the moment and me, me, me -- the recovery of Chernobyl will take tens of thousands of years. Who knows what mutated wilderness will thrive over the dust of our presumptions ... I'm all for apex predators too wise for human blood.

  8. it gives me comfort
    to imagine
    - slowly, in barely perceptible
    increments of time -
    greenness unfolding
    across the land once more... This gives me hope too, Sherry. The age of planetary healing may yet come.

  9. I love to imagine the green and blue oceans thriving but miss the idea of no human looking upon it, writing songs and poems to honor it.

  10. I was thinking of the desolation around Mt. St. Helen after its eruption. It has become a greenbelt of vegetation with wildlife. Nothing was left for civilizatio. I saw a documentary of the activity around Chernobyl that showed several widows who did not move away and some poachers who came in.

  11. I must agree wholeheartedly with the second stanza!


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