It was the day after Thanksgiving. We were all together beside a waterfall in
Chris never moved except for stroking his beard with his long, thin fingers. His eyes never left the torrents beneath us. He said, “Everyone keeps looking for the world to fall apart. What no one seems to realize is that it already has.”
I thought about the recent death of David, about the bombing in New York and the war in Afghanistan, about the obnoxiously sentimental advertisements for Christmas shopping, about my love Joya and my hope for a life with her, about my beloved new niece Hadley who would grow up in front of a television, about my parents who had done nothing but fight recently, about that Thanksgiving in a tiny cabin with friends who I loved. I watched John and Brian jump from rock to rock over the roaring falls, calculating where I would have to jump into the water beneath me to save them if they slipped, wondering if it was possible to survive in those freezing rapids under the best circumstances. I was sure Chris was right. The world has fallen apart and no amount of hopefulness or flag-waving can undo what has already gone too far.
So what should one do when he lives in the waning of a great civilization? I am studying medicine. I hope to marry Joy someday. I hope to be a doctor for the poor in some rural town. I think I need to write –exactly what I should be writing I’m not sure. I need to pray and read the scriptures more. I need to eat less and get my large body more physical exertion. I need to visit my family more, before Joel and Emily’s daughter grows up. I need to tell my friends that I love them. I need to somehow keep myself from quitting medical school. I am growing old. I feel older than I really am. I think about all these things and wonder… Is this the right way to live at the end of the world? I don’t have the answers. I don’t even think I am up to the few tasks I have given myself.