The end of the world isn’t some instantaneous, catastrophic event, abolishing all life in a blink. No, it’s slow. It’s a gradual, inexorable deterioration of everything you know and love all around you. You can’t plan for it, you can’t avoid it, and you can’t stop it. You think it would never happen to you, that life would always be the same, and like all other hardships in your life, you’d survive this one as well.
I did, too.
We knew the date the earth would die, but nothing else. The world was divided into evangelists and skeptics; I fell in with the latter. This was just one more event blown out of proportion, and we’d all laugh at each other the following morning. I still didn’t want to believe it was happening, even when the sun set for the last time.
Faced with the reality, I braced myself for what the entertainment industry had implanted after years of asteroids, fires, aliens, earthquakes, and massive worldwide destruction. I had a romantic image of holding onto the one I love as a blazing explosion tore across the landscape, killing us instantly. I always enjoyed those movies and thought it would be exciting to witness the real thing. Humanity had gotten out of hand, and it needed a wake-up call to reassert the important things in life. I never dreamed how truly terrifying it really was.
We tried to prepare, of course. But how do you prepare for the end of all things? We hadn’t worked in months – paychecks wouldn’t be forthcoming anyway – and our scattered family had reunited, all living together under a large roof. Stores had shut down; what was the point? Fortunately, we had stocked up ages ago, just in case. We hoped we had enough to get us through… what, we weren’t sure. We had only recently lost power, too. At least someone still felt that was important. Society collapsed, and people seldom went outside, preferring to spend what little time they had left with the ones they loved. Surprisingly, the impending doom united small communities; we finally found something to bring out the best in people. Ironic that it was only in the end.
Information was scarce. Concerned for themselves, people didn’t travel. With the recent prevalence of the internet, we had lost touch with how to communicate. Everyone was content to maintain the unspoken agreement of privacy. I spent most of my time amidst nagging worry, distracting novels, and comforting kitties.
But I also ventured outside to take a few pictures on what little battery power remained. The silence was eerily attractive; there was something magical about the slow decay. The task gave me focus. Perhaps someone would find the pictures someday and know that even in death, the earth was beautiful.
The day came like any other. It ended like no other.
Want to join me in these weekly photo challenges? Send me an email by midnight U.S. Pacific Time (UTC-8) Saturday night with a low-res copy of an image (1MB or smaller) that fits either of this week’s themes, or leave a comment on this post with a public link (accessible from incognito mode/logged out) to your photo on Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Include your blog or website if you have one, and I’ll include your photo and site link in the next post. I look forward to seeing them!