The Deceiving Apple

Alexandria - Clinton Township, Michigan
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,

For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.

America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,

And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.

~George Carlin

The United States of America. Imagine it, as a giant apple tree. What do you picture? Does the tree stand tall and strong, flourishing with green leaves, and abundant with apples that could have come straight from Eden?

Well. I see a tree that stands tall and strong too. It’s stretching branches drenched in the richest greens, decorated with apples that can only be described as perfect. It’s magnificent. I see other trees surrounding it, but this one stands out from all the rest. It seems to sparkle; it speaks of great things. It speaks to me of—promise.

Desire to taste perfection jaded my actions as I greedily snatched the ripest apple and took a bite–I guess not all things are beautiful on the inside. The apple emitted such a stench that was so rancid it made my nostrils burn. Under the flawless skin appeared blackness and rot. Instead of frothy sweet juice, green sticky pus oozed from the deceased crevices. Insects and worms infected the core laying their eggs, only to corrupt and disease the apple more.

America had promised me sweet ripe apples, but what I got in return was decay and destruction.

Are we so blind, that we do not even see the earth under our feet turn into garbage? My home and the home of so many other living things is becoming a wasteland, where plastic bottles, half eaten food, and cigarette butts roam the land, herding in masses, taking over the ones who inhabited it first. How long will it be until the gorgeous natural features and marvels we take for granted disappear forever?

A greedy life man lives. Like vampires, we’ll suck the life out of the earth until we suck it dry. We won’t savor the taste so it lasts, and we won’t replace what we have taken. What will we do then? Be like the aliens on the big screen we fear so much? As soon as our world dies, move on to the next one? No. I believe that our ways of living need to change.

Nature had touched me at a very young age, and ever since then I have respected all living things. The more I had seen, the more infatuated I became.

An experience that I’ll never forget that triggered this life lasting bond happened when a friend and I were exploring abandoned hunting stations and old rickety barns on the acres of land my friend’s grandmother has possessed up in Gaylord.

The sun was hiding behind the trees, only a few streaks of golden rays escaped the leaves, yet it was enough for us to find our way through the trails. It was quite quiet, my friend and I were as silent as the woods. Not a single thing stirred. I had never been in such a place so mute, yet full of life.

Like magic, a deer jumped from a bush just a few inches away from us. My mouth had dropped open in astonishment, while my heart raced from the surprise. It hopped a few feet away from us and stopped to look back. It was a young like we were. Its brown coat and white tail glistened in the remaining sunlight. The deer’s eyes stood out to me the most. They were completely black, but they were filled with curiosity and feeling.

There and then, I realized that animals weren’t unintelligent beasts like most people tend to think. More than once they have proven themselves smarter than man. They’re not puppets for our amusement. They’re alive.

This is why it saddens me to know that some people out there think animals are mindless brutes, trees are paper, mountains are future malls, and fields are parking lots. Seeing animal cruelty is an instant tear jerker. How can anybody be so heartless to hurt a living breathing thing that had done no harm to them? I despise seeing stray dogs and cats that are nothing but fur and bone. I hate looking into that homeless animal’s eyes knowing that all I could do is take it into an animal shelter, subduing it to more suffering. I know what will happen to that animal if it isn’t adopted, and it only saddens me more.

As I saw more and more of this happening, I started losing all my respect for people who have no respect for life.

In the near future, I’d hope to see improvements in the environment. I want to see a place where littering and pollution don’t exist. I wish to see people respect nature and animals as they would to other people. As we create better technology, we should start creating healthier ways to live for a cleaner America, where all living things win.

America had once been a beautiful powerful tree, with apples perfect on the inside and out. When we became greedy for more, the apple started to rot.

Maybe if we all chipped in to cleanse the inside, the apple would be as beautiful as it appears on the outside. If we just take the time to think about everything else that lives on this planet, we will be one step closer to redeeming ourselves and rejuvenating this wasteland we call home. We are responsible for this disease, but if we start to care, I’m positive that we can cure it.