With iron mined from the earth, they built lumbering machines that crushed trees, dredged holes, and flattened hills. They used their ingenuity and strength to excavate limestone and granite from the mountains. After carving these boulders into blocks, they stacked them into buildings that reached for the heavens. Using the soil and silt beneath their feet, they changed the courses of rivers and increased the area of the island. It was a great city.
From miles away, the skyscrapers were visible, forming a jagged contour that jutted up from the arc of the horizon. They marveled at their achievement.
They also leveled hills, uprooted trees, pulled out grass, shaped new hills, replanted trees, and added flowers. They filled in ponds and constructed new lakes. The result was a beautiful park. It beckoned the citizens out of the grid of the great city onto its manufactured grounds for respite. Tall buildings cast long shadows over its expanse.
No matter the direction of their gaze, they saw their wonderful creations: The skyscrapers. The city grid. The subway system. The works of art. The green spaces. The fashion. The cuisine. There was nothing that they could not do. Everything in the great city was man-made, a product of their brilliance, efforts, and ambition.
In their pride they overlooked the creations of Nature. Some mountains reached heights such that they were frosted with snow throughout the year. Tides splashing over the billions of grains of sand along the oceans’ edges succumbed to the pull of the moon. Though trees were naked in winter, by spring they were dressed in lush leaves that captured the energy of the sun.
They forgot that Nature provided the materials to build the great city. They forgot that there was something greater than them.