The Legend Of A Lake

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Defensively, they said the lake could be cleaned up, at a cost of billions of dollars. They belatedly began building sewage treatment plants, only to find that mercury, in industrial discharges, was being stored in the bodies of the lake’s fish, making them poisonous to eat. Worse, the men seemed unable to stem the flow of silt, the real villain, because it flowed every time a highway was made, a field plowed, a basement dug, a house constructed, a bulldozer blade lowered—acts that were the very heart and soul of civilization’s advances. Restoring the lake meant removing all the silt, and that was impossible.

The men had too great an investment in progress based on new engines, new chemicals, new conquests of other worlds to understand relatively simple truths. They understood that the lake was a victim of their works, and they were sorry about that. They could not yet understand that they had become victims of the lake. The state of the lake was also the state of the men.