Once in the green area, Taya knew exactly what to look for. When she was searching for butterflies outside Aire, by chance she spotted a dozen of exemplars collecting nectar from the passion flower that grew also in Aire’s botanical garden, where she was now standing. Butterflies had not been spotted for years in Aire, yet their role in the micro ecosystem was fundamental for the survival of the plants. Sure, there were artificial ways of pollination, but the goal of Aire was to rely as little as possible on technology and maintain a self-sustaining ecosystem. Taya’s research suggested that butterflies might still be living in the remaining vegetation of the Amazon basin from which most of the wildlife had almost completely perished. So on the advice of Professor Elro, she had carefully captured the butterflies she found in a box only to release them a few minutes later in the green area of Aire. It was uncertain whether they would acclimate to the new surroundings and eventually lay their eggs, but now that doubt was gone. Continue reading
Only a month ago, Taya’s project appeared insignificant to most other students in Professor Elro’s class in biodiversity. In Aire there were no forms of school like the ones we know and associate with our present time. From an early age, after the first five years of general education, children were encouraged to pursue classes that best suited their personal interests. There was no age limit. Each resident was entitled to attend courses they were naturally drawn to, and at the same time, there was no obligation to continue studies. Each made their own destiny.
Curiously, in Aire most of the symbols of structured societies were absolutely absent. Aside from protectors, which consisted of all residents from the age of eighteen, there were no other peace officers nor law keepers. Knowledge was considered the only currency, and barter or exchange of goods was a regular form of trade. No one was poor, and at the same time the notion of wealth didn’t exist either.
Walking towards the green area, Taya remembered the day she left the community, though only for an hour. It felt like it was long ago, years almost. In her twenty years, she probably had not stepped outside Aire more than a few times, never distancing herself enough to lose the sight of her hometown. A month ago, in concordance with the Professor, Taya left Aire when the energy shield was temporarily turned off to allow her to conduct her research in the proximity of the community, located where once the magnificent Amazon rainforest ruled with its breathtaking river, vegetation and savage creatures, all almost completely perished now.
Some two centuries after our time, Earth had turned out to be a much different place than we could have ever predicted. The future we feared was merely a mitigated version of what had become reality.
One of the rare remains of natural habitat was Aire, with its small surface protected by a dome of impenetrable energy, shielding it from the toxic pollution and radiation menacing the external world. Continue reading
As the potent rays struggled to find their way through the clouds that rolled across the unusual sky, Taya slowly opened her eyes to welcome another day. She moved her long black hair from her face and tucked it behind her ears. In those first moments of wakefulness, her attention was immediately captured by a flash of bright colors coming from the source of light. Toe-walking to avoid waking up her roommate who was sleeping on the other side of the wall, Taya came closer to the window to salute the charming visitor standing on the edge of the open pane.
“They are here to stay,” she whispered as the bright yellow butterfly with red lines tattooed on its thorax flapped its wings, preparing to disappear into the light of the day. Excited by this curious encounter, Taya quickly put on her indigo dress, paired it with sand- colored sandals, and rushed to her teacher’s house, knowing that he must have been already awake, despite the temptation to indulge in some much-needed rest. When you do what you love, it’s not really work. The words of Professor Elro echoed in the back of her mind. His house was only a few blocks away. Continue reading
The curious looks encountered drowsy ones as the crackling fire fought to stay alive for a few more minutes. Some had heard the story many times before, others listened in awe as the new world opened up before their eyes.
“In essence, nothing has changed. Good and evil still reign. Each in their own worlds which at times abruptly collide in the human mind, resulting in unnecessary pain and invisible scars.”
The younger ones were completely puzzled at this point. The words of the old man made no sense to them. Yet they knew it was not polite to openly show indifference. So they kept pretending to follow his story while gazing at the fire that was about to quench any moment now, bringing this long night to a much-needed close. Continue reading