“…And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.”
In There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury we are able to experience the a world that we would never be able to. An empty house, an empty world, with no people around. Our protagonist in There Will Come Soft Rains is not a person but a house. Seemingly utopian at first, the house is modern and contains technology that fills the mind with wonder, but slowly we begin to realize that there is something missing, we are missing. A day in the life of an empty house in 2026. The house is juxtaposed with nature, and as we finally come to realize, this story is one about the ultimately apathetic quality of nature.
Humans seem to forget that nature does not care. As most of us have come to realize, the consequences of global warming are imminent. Hurricanes, for example, are a direct consequence of global warming they are something we did to ourselves. Yet somehow, we find ways to place the blame on “mother nature” we accuse her being wrathful and unstoppable, a true force of the universe we are powerless against, which is a lie. Like uncomfortable guests at a dinner party argument, we remove ourselves the situation. We will probably end up paying the price for that sooner than later because again, nature does not care. Humans, could as a species become completely extinct, but it really wouldn’t matter to nature. Life goes on after us, it’ll just pick up where it left off. Humans like to think of themselves as more important than we really are, but honestly it’s not that deep. We destroy each other for things that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things and expect other to be perfectly fine with those decisions, to see them as logical and reasonable.
Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains shows us a glimpse of the world that is to come after us. We are subtly told that this is a consequence of some kind of nuclear fallout, “the entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. […] The five spots of paint—the man, the woman, the children, the ball—remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.” In this lack of humans, the house is personified and seems almost like a dog waiting for it’s master to come back. This is interesting given that the house is a piece of human technology left behind, and the juxtaposition it is placed in with an actual, literal dog. Both, the metaphorical and actual dog die in the story. The real dog foreshadows the oncoming death of the house, “The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died.” We see that in it’s last moments the house is trying to keep itself alive and protect itself from an outside force, like the dog who is done in by the smell of pancakes in the house, there is even a reference to fire.
The forces of nature can not be controlled, we are meant to coexist not compete. It is not us versus them, when “us”, humanity, is part of “them”, nature. It is a lesson we should learn if we wish to continue living as we have until now.