word by Josh Elyea
colour by Garry Tugwell Smith
Untether yourself from the Earth, they’d said. Man was born to fly.
When I was a little kid, I’d run through the meadow behind our house with my arms waist-high. I’d convince myself that the gentle touch of the high grass against my fingers was exactly what a cloud might feel like, if you could reach out and grab it. I still think about that meadow as I run my hands through the greasy droplets of moisture that cloud the air as I drive to work. Clouds aren’t quite as majestic as my formative self liked to believe.
It’s easy to look at a flying car and be impressed. It’s easy to look at it and think, we’re going in the right direction.
Now, we look to the things that grow for sanctuary. We look for the things that hold fast to the Earth, that dig their roots deep and growl at the bastards who’d dare to try and dig those roots out, to inspire us, just as we once looked to our superheroes as they streaked across the sky. Now, we see heroism in every tree that dares to grow, in every flower that dares to bloom. We recognize the bravery in their determination, in their resolve. How hard it must be to be green in a grey world.
To my left, a massive building hovers in the fog, beyond definition. Concrete but fluid, the building lurks as lights signal to oncoming traffic which sections of the sky to avoid. Strange to think that the sky, once so spectacular in its refusal to be defined, has now been mapped, separated into imaginary but all-too-real geometric spaces given a name and correlating number based on their geographic location (and in this process, had the entirety of its mystery stripped away, like a bad movie that foreshadows too heavily its own ending).
The lights on the building pulse in the morning haze, and as the faint sun begins to strike the windows of the tower, it seems for a moment to resemble a large flower unfolding as the day breaks. Is it possible that skyscrapers too have roots, dug deep into the concrete that has increasingly replaced the Earth?