The heavens are forever blue and the earth
Will stand firm for a long time and bloom in spring.
But you, Man, how long will you live then?
Not a hundred years are you allowed to enjoy
in all the rotten triviality of this earth!
Mahler had a lot of earth song to compete with in 1906 what with the San Andreas fault providing a bass line, the eruption of Vesuvius throwing fire into the air and sizzling sand and pumice across miles and miles, the 1500 killed in Ecuador by an 8.8 magnitude quake off the coast and the tidal wave rushing inland that followed. But there’s nothing that would indicate that these tragedies, nor the storms that burst the dikes in Vlissingen in March nor the storms that pounded the west coast of Holland later that month, nor the 8.2 earthquake that destroyed Valparaiso, Chile later that year had anything to do with the Austrian composer’s themes. Gustav had his own problems, as do we all.
But if you have an urge to strip your cares away tomorrow I suggest you go outdoors and plant a tree or just shovel up dog shit like me. It’s Earth Day, no time to be miserable. C’mon, get shiny!