I don’t know why this thought occurred to me in the small hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping, but it suddenly hit me that when the bomb exploded over Hiroshima that morning in August, it wasn’t just 70,000 people who died instantly. It was also animals and plants.
There were cats and dogs who had just had their breakfast. Kittens were nursing. There were birds coming to feeders, butterflies coming to flowers. The flash would have caught some birds and insects in flight, never to land.
Carefully tended autumn gardens would never be harvested. Flowers that were sources of beauty vanished. Bonsai trees, lovingly cared for sometimes for decades, in an instant turned to steam and smoke.
I was a child of the Cold War, and grew up with the fear that a madman would destroy the earth. Sometimes when I left for school I wondered if I’d ever see my parents again. I knew I could vanish in an instant, before my mind was even cognizant of what was happening.
Those fears faded with time. For most of my adult life I didn’t think anyone would be so evil, so cruel, so unthinking.