July 20th 2023 on Dušan's blog
It was a day like any other. Work was coming to a close and the bustling streets of Belgrade were as lively as they've ever been. Nothing to suggest that this was anything but another ordinary day. Though, as fate would have it, it would soon prove to be anything but.
A couple of hours later I was on my way back home, sitting inside a transit bus. I remember feeling a bit annoyed that we seemed to be moving rather slowly. But annoyance would soon be replaced by astonishement and then a fear that I can only describe as primal. The storm hit. The dark, storm cloud filled sky was moving high above us, but on the ground the wind was blowing with what the state weather agency described as staggering speeds. For a resident of south-eastern Europe, this was unprecedented. The rotten and otherwise unstable trees gave way, falling across the roads and alleyways. The electrical grid shut off, leaving the town in complete darkness. That's when lightning began to break, lighting up the pitch-black sky for a fleeting moment and reminding me of the kind of dread that crawls along your entire body, the one that sinks into the very core of what it means to experience fear.
I somehow make it inside the bus station, surrounded by other people who, like me, were frantically searching for shelter just a few moments ago. And as the lightning breaks in its characteristically tree-like appearance, I begin to wonder what must've our ancesstors felt thousands of years ago, that the fear they experienced still serves to remind their decendants that no matter how much they improve their conditions, they are powerless against nature's wrath. I can only imagine my great, great, great, a thousand times great ancesstor, not blessed with the knowledge we now have, thinking how the entire world was out for blood, hostile and unmoved by the pleas of small, pitiful humans. And yet, here we are, having made the world in our image, still waging the same war against nature as we did all those years ago.
The rain settles down a bit, and communications gradually restore to the point where I can call my father to come pick me up. And as I enter through the front porch of my house, the power comes back alive. The crisis, seemingly averted, the storm moving further east, leaves the town in a state of dismay. The trees will be moved and the electric and communication grids will be repared, but what about the future? The world is set for a climate catastrophe, the scale of which, will make "ordinary" storms like this one look like a walk in the park by comparison. The war against nature is a losing one. The children of Earth must wake up and realise that they themselves are the architects of their despair, because, as was established oh so long ago, nature doesn't take prisoners.