So the tentative roadtrip plan is to go to my folks in Colorado for a few days, then head West again to visit a friend in the San Fransisco Bay area before heading back to Texas.
If you want to meet up for coffee/beer/herping/photography and are between Denver and San Fransisco or San Fransisco and Austin, drop me a note; let’s do something fun.
So, my hiatus has been slightly delayed due to having a flat damn tire, so have a story.
There is always an eagle.
Everything else changes, but there is always an eagle.
(It isn’t always the same eagle, of course, or even the same species. There is a principle at stake here, but it does no one any good to get bogged down in specifics.)
Most of the time, there is fire, but ice and mud are acceptable in a pinch. Once, it was a typhoon.
Each and every time, it is their fault. (Which is to say that it is, ultimately, his fault.)
The world ends in a thousand different ways, and an eagle is the only thing that remains.
In the beginning, he tried to warn them. It did no good.
Now, he just tries to enjoy his mornings.
He’s taken up birdwatching.
(It’s a difficult hobby. He can never hold on to the guides, and the taxonomy is always different from day to day. But birds of prey stay pretty much the same.)
The Haast’s Eagle was probably his favorite: the first new thing that he had seen in a long time. It took two firestorms and a tidal wave before he figured out what it was. When he did, the identification delighted him. He never expected to go to New Zealand.
He wonders if the eagles survive.
(He doubts it. If he were condemned to cockroaches feasting upon his flesh for all eternity, he’d hold out a little more hope, but birds are delicate, even eagles.)
He almost makes it to dawn, once.
In the desert, stars fade into pink smudges of twilight. The sun is close enough for him to feel, crawling up to the edges of the world.
Nothing lasts forever.
The end of the world comes in white fire and a wind that peels the flesh from his bones.
It is somehow reassuring to know that at least one thing has survived; there is an eagle in that blistered desert who will find an easy meal.
Every day is exactly the same. The sun slips over the horizon, and the birds are already awake. The world ends, and then there is an eagle.
He remembers his life before the end of things, when he was a god among thieves and the patron of generosity. He wonders if his gift was worth it.
Not for his sake, of course – he bears his own suffering well enough. Like everything, dying becomes easier with time. This far in, he barely feels anything at all.
Every day, the world ends. The stars blink out for a hundred, a thousand, a million other people. They have not practiced this. Most of them are innocent.
(Even the evil ones probably don’t deserve their fate.)
He sometimes wonders whether there are other endings that he will never see: apocalypses with no eagles at all.
He wonders whether they ever get it right.