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BELATED LESSON, by Patricia Harrington

The infestation started so slowly, that I really didn't notice it. It seemed harmless, a bit of scum barely noticeable on the edge of ponds and waterways. It was a discoloration and then a formation, a bit curious, but nothing to invoke concern. I was busy getting things in order. That is a woman's role, you know, making order out of chaos. Times really haven't really altered that fact. I continued to take care of my own, watched them grow and made sure they became upstanding members in the community. I was so proud when they made it in the larger world. That's a parent's cherished dream.

monarch, by Mary Jarvis
The Butterfly Bead (Monarch)
by Mary Jarvis

But I paid a price for ignoring what had seemed a small blight, a brief irregularity in the scheme of things. What had started out as obscure, changed and found a foothold in crevices, then in bushes and trees, and with a swift determination, spread into valleys and onto mountainsides. It evolved, and I took note, trying to slow it down, but the thing grew exponentially. Suddenly, I found myself under siege, hastening to protect the young and vulnerable in my family. Some became ill and died from this infestation's insidious workings.

My loved ones cried out, "Mother Nature, save us! These humans are destroying us."

Belatedly, I realized that I should have stopped these creatures when they first evolved on my beloved earth. But I have learned now. I am bringing forth my full arsenal of erupting volcanoes and torrential floods, destructive earthquakes and obliterating hurricanes.

The power of humankind is great, but mine has no boundaries. And my fury has yet to be controlled.

BIO: Patricia Harrington is the author of DEATH STALKS THE KHMER, a mystery novel that both entertains and enlightens. Her website is

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