Somewhere north of Aztec, N.M. -- The sun had burn…

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Somewhere north of Aztec, N.M. -- The sun had burn…


Dan Schwartz.






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Somewhere north of Aztec, N.M. -- The sun had burned away the silver eclipse that had hung like an earring in the west by the time I mount my motorcycle. In the silence is an electrical buzz. I start the engine. With morning light low on my back, I ride to the desert with the end of the world on my mind. // It is something we have been discussing. Not conversations about nothingness. Rather the beginning after the end. A grey period. Alec, my brother, describes it as an existence of evasion. The red oil tanker and then the blue, the ones I see on the hill now from afar, for instance, would likely be hostile and warrant distant observation, he says. "It can never hurt to scout things out. But I definitely wouldn't approach them." // If he were with me, as I often wish he were, we would trail the tankers far behind so the motorcycle's sound did not carry. But he is not, and I watch them pass one and then the other over that hill and follow behind. // Alec thinks lots of people would already be dead. So even if we made it to Durango, as I am trying to do through the sand and green sage brush, what then? I ask. Then we travel west to Seattle, Alec says, where Babe, our sister, in his mind, is. And we find a boat, he says. "It really doesn't have to be very big." Like "the one that Papa and Dad and David got," the 19-footer. "Have you seen the boat? Have you been to the Cape since then?" No. I haven't. Not since moving away. (Cape Cod is a home for our family Back East.) Why Seattle? I ask. "It's been on my mind." // This is how Alec would have it: me, our sister and him. The three of us and a boat and all the coast that shapes the Americas. Wind and fish and freedom. And family. // But dreams of the long dawn after our world begins again are impractical. We overlook details. To be lightweight that morning I had left with only about a gallon of gas in the motorcycle's tank. Alone somewhere in the desert now, with a red light on my dashboard, I am nervous.




Dan Schwartz., “Somewhere north of Aztec, N.M. -- The sun had burn…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed August 5, 2020,