These are the days of spooks and goblins, ghosts and ghouls. Days when spirits cross between worlds and ban-sidhe wails ride the winds. Perfect time to stir the embers of nightmares: binge on horror flicks, attend a séance, visit a haunted house. Court the monsters of the shadows and the things that go bump in the night.
Long ago, when our ancestors huddled together in fire-warmed caves, just living was a frightful proposition. In the darkness lurked bears and lions, serpents and birds of prey, all much larger and fiercer than their modern kin. And, most frightening of all, there were Dragons.
Rightly or wrongly, they haunted ancient dreams and struck terror in primeval hearts. It’s an understandable turn of events in a draconically unenlightened world. Even today, though our interspecies relations are at a passing level of détente, I know a Dragon or two who still get quite kick out of giving us humans the shivers.
Lately, though, the Dragons of the world have themselves been shivering. Not since the Dark Times has their world been in such turmoil. It is only fitting, then, to ask what gives Dragons nightmares?
What can make these near-invincible, sentient, apex-predators toss and turn, tremble and quake? Sadly, the answer is what it’s always been: Humans.
Ignorant, selfish, careless Humans. Puny, thin-skinned, myopic Humans who put self-preservation on hold in place of short-term greed that would put Smaug to shame.
Over the past year, certain two-legged powers that be have been systematically undermining science and learning, dismantling efforts to combat climate change,and putting the future of the planet and all its inhabitants at risk. (The loss of 40,000 Adélie penguin chicks this year brings tears draconic eyes. “Don’t you see what you’re doing?” they demand. “Even if you have no care for others’ hatchlings, can you have so little for your own?”)As Humans have escalated tribalism, internecine conflicts, and weaponized pissing contests to the brink of world-wide cataclysm, courtesy, truthfulness, even basic human decency have become as rare as a snallygaster in New York.
“This isn’t politics,” the Dragons insist. “We have no use for politics, or religion, or any of your sillinesses. This is survival. Yours and ours.”
In the past, of course, Dragons had a distinct advantage over us hapless humans. They could always fade into the mists, bide their time until cooler heads prevailed. They did this during the worst of the Dark Times and survived. But then we two-legs lived, died, and killed on a local scale. Now we’ve gone global and even the misty realms are endangered.
“Destruction is so easy. We should know.But where we have learned, you have not. At the end of the day, who will be left rise from the ashes of your irresponsible stupidity? Who will be here to restore the wonders, the lives you’ve ruined? And many of you don’t even believe we are here. Is it any wonder we fear for our very existence?
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald warned of the type of arrogant humans who now run roughshod through the world:
“They were careless people,… they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
They are the disasters waiting to happen; the Monsters of our modern world. They lurk beyond Dragon-fire and are fought in draconic dreams.
We’d all sleep better if they’d simply fade away.