Nothing But Flowers

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve

I am watching the nine o’clock news on mute as I listen to the Talking Heads. Wildfires are spreading across America’s West, destroying everything from California to Colorado. Boulder is bracing for the worst, one of my favorite cities. I want to turn off the TV and just listen to the music but something keeps me watching.

Waterfalls
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them

The newscasters are sitting far apart and mouthing words I cannot hear. They have perfect skin, perfect smiles. A graphic pops up next to the woman newscaster’s head showing the current COVID-19 statistics. Is it possible more than 220,000 are dead? Why do hundreds more keep dying each day? Over 40 million cases around the world! I can’t hear what they’re saying, but that’s OK. A pictures tells a thousand words…

From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

On to the markets. Red arrows cover the screen all of them pointing down next to Oil, Gold, the S&P, NASDAQ and the Dow. None of that can be good, but the reporter is still smiling. Maybe the positive is that oil is dropping and renewable energy is surging. Maybe that’s what I’m missing?

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
You got it, you got it”

Back to pictures of closed businesses. From factories to retailers no one seems immune… except the president, I guess. What does the future hold for all those people who worked at these places? What are they living on and where are they living? What will they eat?

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
We got it, we got it

I am thinking more about the song during a commercial…

Maybe this will be good for us?

Maybe we will be forced to live leaner and eat better?

No more industrial farming, no more cows adding extra methane to our air.

Maybe we can get back to small, organic farming, and focus on producing more plant-based foods ’cause there’s no way I will ever eat a rattlesnake for dinner.

There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
You’ve got it, you’ve got it

Now there’s a good use for old malls. They were struggling long before COVID-19 hit us. Why don’t we rip them up and restore what was there before? We could plant hundreds of trees and create mini oasis’s making sure to include all the native plants. Stock them with the creatures who lived there before we chased them out and build back our ecosystem. Over 700 malls are splattered across the country. Just think of all the carbon we would soak up from the atmosphere if we restored the natural, green spaces that were there before we poured cement over them.

Photo by Seph Lawless, abandoned Lincoln Mall, Matteson, IL

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
You’ve got it, you’ve got it

It feels more like purgatory than paradise. People on the news look distraught, some are crying, some look angry. I can’t blame them. We unknowingly created this virus and now we’re facing the consequences.

I was an angry young man
And I’d pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway

I haven’t been on a highway since February and if I could go somewhere, where would I go? There’s no escaping the world we’ve created. Forget about leaving the country. No one will let us visit and even if we could, cases are rising again all over the world. Maybe being a billboard wouldn’t be so bad. At least I’d see more people…

This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong”

Another commercial and I’m back into the song.

We have to start over, don’t we? We have to find a way to fix things…

How great would it be to have nothing but flowers, trees, plants and animals thriving again?

We could coexist.

Even GM’s Hummer is going electric and Ford’s F150. Is it possible people aren’t consuming as much as they used to?

Maybe we’re being forced to pay attention to Climate Change now that it’s impacting our daily lives.

Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
You’ve got it, you’ve got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
You got it, you got it

Nothing looks peaceful on the news tonight. No one is smiling except the newscasters. Even the reporters out in the field look upset. The weatherman is back and he’s showing us the damage from the fires again. A third of the country is experiencing some kind of drought. Another hurricane is revving up in the Atlantic… is it possible it’s named using the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet because we’ve had too many this year?

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
You got it, you got it

I miss watching live music and eating in a crowded restaurant. I miss relaxing with friends and going for a walk without a mask on. I definitely miss Dairy Queen Blizzards but I’ve managed to live without them since college. I could pass on 7-Elevens, but I would be crushed if my local food co-op closed…

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
You got it, you got it

It feels as if no one has paid any attention. The planet is falling apart, but instead of doing something about it, we’re distracted by the noise coming from people in powerful positions who are ignoring the science and determining our fate. It feels as if we’re frozen, waiting for someone to break the spell. Like so many others, I’m tired of this pandemic, tired of worrying about people I love, tired of feeling helpless.

“I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
You got it, you got it

The pretty newscasters are back on. It doesn’t look as if any of them eat cherry pies or chocolate chip cookies. Their faces are pumped up with fillers and frozen by Botox. Maybe if we focused on saving the planet the same way we’ve focused on our looks, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
You got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it’s turned into a cornfield
You’ve got it, you’ve got it

Back to pictures of boarded up stores, closed businesses and people shaking their heads. How did we get here? Is it possible things will never go back to the way they were ten months ago? But that could be good for us. We are sick because we let our planet get sick. Eating a diet of nuts and berries might be the cure.

Don’t leave me stranded here
I can’t get used to this lifestyle

I can’t either. I have promised to stop watching the evening news. It is time for ME to go on a strict media diet. Instead, I will read The Guardian, watch videos from The World Economic Forum and pay more attention to those who believe that relying on science will get us out of this mess.

Nothing But Flowers is about being conflicted between having the technical, convenient comforts in life or having to rough it in nature, but we don’t have to get to that point. Making small changes in our everyday lives like giving up plastic, composting our food and caring about what we buy and consume can make a world of difference… if we all do it.

Watching the news can make anyone feel as if we are headed towards the apocalypse, but if we change our ways now, we can avoid that. We have brilliant engineers, designers and innovators who want make our world better, healthy and whole again. Let’s allow their ideas to grow and flourish so we can all live in a true paradise.

Thank you once again to The Talking Heads. You guys were so ahead of your time!

– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer


Let ME know:

Are ya feeling like ME during this pandemic?

Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!

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