Is This the Way the World Ends


I’m in Hotevilla when the call comes.  There’s a propane leak at Hopi Health Care and they’ve evacuated the facility and the adjacent housing complex.  They’re afraid the whole thing is going to blow.

I drive back to First Mesa.  The hospital and housing entrances are blocked by a phalanx of squad cars.  Two fire trucks wait on the side of the road about a mile distant.  I drive past, hook a right on the airport road and park on the cracked asphalt adjacent to the air strip.  I secretly cut across the wash and desert to the rear of our house and hop the fence.

Inside, I settle down with a ham sandwich.  The neighborhood feels ghostly and empty. What do I take? I wonder. I finish my sandwich and grab my laptop and Mazie’s violin.  I load a duffle with some meat from the cow we slaughtered.  A half bottle of Hornitos.  I shoot a quick video of each room of our house (for insurance purposes).

The first editions of Stephen’s journals, the signed first editions of Cormac McCarthy books, my signed Turrells, the Heriz, my journals and family heirlooms – it’s all destined for flames, I decide.

I plop my Mennonite hat on my head and wrap my scarf around my neck.  I move the chicks outside.  I open the gate and our dog Mango steps out with me.  We’re joined by the stray pit that everyone dislikes and together – the dogs and me, violin and duffle in hand, set off across the desert. A sand storm kicks up, sending tumbleweeds skittering past.  A thunderstorm approaches.

Perhaps this is how it ends.  Behind me I’ll hear an explosion and feel the heat of an enormous fire ball.  Anna’s work and all of our worldly possessions will have blown up.  And then we’ll climb in the car with Mazie and drive west.

And that’s it.  We’ll be done with it.

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