This story originally published in Antipodean SF

Ah Spring

by C.W.Smoke

Visit Castle Smoke

I sit here watching the squirrels playing outside my window. Young squirrels -- two males and a female. One male runs up and down the tree trunks, leaping from branch to branch, showing off. Wow! Is he agile. Is he fast. The other male chases the female, his nose bobbing up and down just behind her tail.

Once I was young like that, my eyes, my nose, my lips following sweet Yvonne's every move. Eager to see her, smell her, taste her, touch her. Eager to mate. Even now, Spring does that to me. It must be the new growth, the bursting forth, nature's rampant sexuality that makes me feel young again, ready for the chase.

And on this sunny Spring day I envy the squirrels. I envy them their youth, their exuberance. But most of all I envy them their ignorance.

Squirrels will never reach the stars. But we could have. We had the technology. Our leaders simply chose another direction. And we let them. But we should have...reached for the stars, that is. The clues were all around us -- black holes devouring matter, stars going supernova, galaxies colliding. Who could have guessed that the precursor to galactic collision was a tiny, concentrated, nearly invisible stream of atoms, dust particles, preceding, leading every galaxy by billions of light years? Now, of course, it's too late.

The leading edge of The Regis-Seven Galaxy has already intersected our Milky Way. And how do we know? Well, obviously not by first-hand observation. Only by inference. Only by the trail of stars quickly going supernova with our star Sol poking along right in the path of destruction.

I wonder what God's almighty plan is for us now? To wipe us from the blackboard of the universe and begin anew? Apparently our intellect has interfered with our survival instinct. So, who could fault such a choice?

Me? I'm going outside to sit in the sunshine and feed the squirrels.


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