All I can tell you is words come slow like rain in the middle of what would become known as the
everlasting drought. Drought hardly describes it. Hot winds have been scouring the landscape for years now. I can’t remember if we ran out of water first, or if the land turned to dust first. I suppose it was simultaneous. Winter ended swiftly, in one final blow, in one day the ice melted and the hot wind arose from out of the west.
And then the north. And finally we were blasted by hot currents from every direction. It never rained again, and the wind never died, and once everything crumbled, life never returned. I can’t remember that last day so well, it seems too much like a dream. I dream of delicate flesh stinging from the cold. Brittle ice cutting into cheeks. And red noses peeking out from scarfs.
And then it was gone. Then there was the burning and the itching. The flaking of burnt flesh and the creaking of dead grass. Trees fell, slowly. Their top-most branches crashing to the rugged earth, and crumbling away. In the beginning there were swarms of carpenter ants and termites—but even they couldn’t survive the undying furnace, ever stoked by growing windstorms.
Every step was thought to be the last. Every step digging a litter deeper into the loose ground. After the tops of trees abated their war against gravity, their dry roots gave way and forests fell. Collapsing like the rest of life, simply giving up and letting go and laying down en masse.
I try to remind myself it hasn’t always been like this. But, I never believe myself. I try to pretend that I have came through worse—that I have survived; the truth is I simply haven’t accepted that I am still alive. What good is living when everything around you disappears? Why bother the endless trek into oblivion, if oblivion is all there is left.
The terrible wind blows and trees die. It howls and you know there is one less thing to care about. The sun glares and you bleed dry, and you walk—trying to stand on loose ground. Try to walk over ground that crumbles into the hallow left by decayed roots. There was a time, I remind myself, that the ground was solid. When the earth was supported by a series of roots, invisible but for the structures they supported. There was a strong and resilient earth, covered with grass, and trees, and flowers, all drawing strength from an invisible web of roots. Roots surrounded by damp ground. Roots I once cursed for hampering my digging. Roots that meandered there way into my compost heap, seemingly demanding to be dug out—extinguished.
Roots that would have died by now anyway. Roots that were the last to see it coming. Roots that didn’t know that the world above was withering into dust, and sand, and neglect. Suddenly alone in empty dry ground. Suddenly vanishing, ripping open holes in their death.
That’s where we’re at. A thousand non-decisions cast by outsiders, a thousand words of advice from unaware and unmindful idols flinging unthoughtful opinions at their trusting admirers. Leading, eventually, to terrible and irreversible consequences. Dry hot winds scouring a hallow earth.
An earth that continues to spin in spite of itself. An earth too preoccupied with damage to halt. An earth incapable of supporting life, spinning out of control by its own inertia and fear of remembering a time before. A rootless earth scoured of life refusing to remember the monumental time which, if remembered, would rock it out of its orbit into inevitable harrowing suffering.
The summer came and abraded the surface and secretly undercut its own foundation. The summer came and never ended. Never let up, never gave heed. Summer came and burnt and burnt and burnt until all there was left to burn was a terrible dry hulk of pity. A clod spinning so quickly that it crumbled under its own inertia. A doubtful sandy clod of what remained of a once promising paradise.
A hollow clod of shock that is afraid to resurrect. Afraid to try again, for in the trying is the admitting that nothing could ever compare to what it once was. Even if the rains came back now…no, only if, only if the rains would return now. Would return willingly and with the same ferocity with which they had left could ever bring an end to this interminable evaporation.