On March 18th, after a week of quarantine, an earthquake shook my home, hard.
I was in the bathtub when it happened, the water sloshing onto the floor as my crystal chandelier swung like a pendulum. I jumped out of the tub to get my husband, prepared to run out into the streets naked if need be.
The aftershocks were just as unsettling. Dozens of quakes rattled us for weeks as we worked from our dining room table, standing each time the ground slipped beneath our feet, wondering if this would be the time to leave.
During this time the trumpet fell from the mouth of Moroni, the angel perched atop the Mormon temple, and we wondered if we’d reached the end of the world.
The end of days
The viruses are seeping into our cities, the earthquakes are unsettling them. The locusts are swarming Africa and the monkeys are taking over Thailand. The prophets spoke of these times and they called them the end of days.
Those prophecies were written after the destruction of the Jewish Temple, when Romans had razed their city in response to the Jewish rebellion. Shortly thereafter, Mount Vesuvius erupted in a flume of smoke, burying the citizens of Pompeii in ash, and John wrote his most harrowing revelation.
Every generation since has seen their time reflected in the smoke and ash. In the seven-headed beast and the moon that wept as blood-ours no more so than the last. We see the darkest parts of the world and are overcome by them. The world is ending, we think.
This world has no intention of showing us a good time. It does not need us to survive. We cling to the planet as it spins around an unknowable universe and we expect it to treat us kindly as it does so. But that is a strange expectation of so eccentric a place as this. Of a world that is nothing but a beautiful experiment spinning about the cosmos, our lives an exotic, but fleeting moment upon it.
There is struggle, that is guaranteed. Some of us will become sick, some of us will lose our jobs, some of us will lose our businesses. Eventually, all of us will lose our parents and people close to us. And because we have the strange and unusual ability to experience…