Thursday, February 26, 2015

Coming Home.

The strange thing about coming back here to Burlington has inexplicably altered me again.
Way back in December 2012 when I woke up to discover that everyone else in the world had apparently just vanished without a trace it was obviously distressing. Frankly I’m surprised I survived it really and I spent the next few months frantically trying to find a sign of anyone else to no avail, eventually I decided to set off to bigger cities, other areas – anywhere where there might be people or a sign of them. By mid-March I made it to New York City, took me more than a month to get there through the snow build up covering everything, unplowed and unaltered by the usual traffic that would keep it at bay. By that time the power had gone out (or so I thought) which I put down to whatever strange phenomenon that had been keeping the lights on and the power going having probably run out. Turns out I was wrong – but I only discover that now...
After I had thoroughly explored New York I set off south and, long story short, I saw a lot fo this great country.. I spent the winter of 2013/2014 down in Florida enjoying the wildlife and the overwhelming peace there. I’d never been to Florida but you could tell from all the stuff left behind just how noisy it had been when people were around. I honestly felt like I could feel nature taking a deep sigh of relief, especially in those areas. As 2014 plodded on I slowly made my way back up the coast and couldn’t help but be amazed at how quickly not only the animals were taking over the spots that had long been cut off from them by human expansion, but the plants too.. simply not having people drive on roads and walking on sidewalks was allowing fresh clovers and grass to spring through the cracks.
It was actually very relaxing and for most of that year I didn’t even make any attempt to seek out people – not a conscious decision, it just seemed wholly unnecessary… in fact, everything seemed (Unsurprisingly, I suppose) to be doing a lot better without people around.The landscapes, even those that were dominated by crooked and ugly man-mmade structures were more beautiful thananything I had seen before.
And then, a few short weeks ago, I plowed my way up Route 7 in the giant Boston City snow- plow I had just about figured out how to run and into Vermont.
I literally can’t even tell you what was going through my head once I was almost in Burlington and I saw the lamp posts lit up and the neon signs from long abandoned gas stations flickering alive…
No words can describe it. It was part dread, part joy – no, more like elation – fear, absolute bewilderment.
The power being on and me being left on this planet alone was a lot to take in 2 years ago but this just seemed beyond understanding… why was the power on in the first place? Especially after 2 years!
I think 2 years away has given my brain time to cope with the fact that there will most likely be no explanation for what happened or why I’m still here but it didn’t prepare me for the mental break that happened coming back here.At first, for a few days, it was great – I could watch some DVD’s, cook food a lot easier and stay in buildings that were a lot easier to heat than what I’d been used to.
But with the electricity back, came something else – suddenly there was this reminder all around about the people that were gone and I found myself almost inexplicably back to my old crusades to try and find people. Driving roundtown in my plow, blowing the air horn and screaming, painting messages on any available wall, setting off fireworks(A tactic I used once in every large town or city I got to just in case, but what I’ve been doing this last week is obsessive at best and psychotic at worst) – anything to get anyone’s attention.. and bear in mind, Burlington is currently buried pretty heavily under about a foot of snow, untouched by anything but the occasional animal track, so any logical being would be able to tell almost instantly that no-one was here, and if they were they were not trying to be found… I fear I’ve pretty much lost it, but this morning I woke up a little more clear minded. Probably why I’m taking to the blog again, try and record some of my thoughts – get them out there so I can process them a bit.
Anyway – Guess that’s just my update for now… I’m going to do my best to not lose all my marbles and get back to appreciating the semi-calming noiselessness of this new world I find myself in.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Animals

It hasn't ceased to amaze me just how much the animals have taken their land back in these last two years. I don't think it'll be too long before the great migrations start again, rampaging over the abandoned interstates across this land eventually tearing apart the concrete so carefully lain there by long-gone human beings and making way for the great plains and forests to regrow... it's remarkable how relatively quickly the mind accepts that this is what the Earth should be - not the brightly lit-up parade we made it.
I've never in my life really felt any connection to animals. We had a couple cats growing up and I'm not saying I was sociopathic to them but there's something very strange about the feeling of looking a wild deer in the eyes and, at least feeling that you can understand what it's thinking. It's like the noise of the cities had to be fully extinguished for me to notice such subtlty.
I swear there were several creatures on my journey for the last few years that gave me some very strange looks - a sort of "It's one of them!" look. Who can blame them really? These guys really have the land now and they're doing a much better job than we ever did..
Anyway, that being said I am still planning to try and keep downtown clear of as many of them as I can so I can not be mauled by bears, ideally.. I noticed lots of tracks up and down the roads into town of various animals but compared to some of the other major urban areas I've been too they're kind of scattered.. I'm guessing (hoping) that the power still inexplicably being on here is warding them away a little bit, it'll make my life a little easier.
I better get out there and see who's laid their claim to the Greater Burlington area.. check in again soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Home Again

It's been a crazy couple of years diary...
A storm pushed me out of Burlington - you don't realize how harsh those big winter storms can be until there's no infrastructure around to see you through - and I headed South.
It took my 3 damn weeks to reach the Massachusetts border.
I holed up in a little grocery store in Williamstown for about a month until Spring started to shine through a bit and I was able to get back on the snow-free roads again.. I thought it strange that the power was now out everywhere but figured that whatever force had been keeping it on before wasn't weird enough to be immune to a good old New England winter storm.
Turns out I was wrong about that but I only discovered that this morning.. bizarre!
Anyway - I've been on the road for almost 2 years and I've concluded only a few things with certainty.
1. America is a beautiful country and now that the wildlife is springing back it seems it's only getting nicer to look at (But slightly more dangerous to trek around)
2. There's almost certainly no people, or trace of people, left at least in North America (See how there's still a little naive hope in that sentence that there might be people still around in other countries? Whatever, I guess I'm just being human)
3. There's still no Sun in the sky and I still can't explain it, but yet there's still daylight and night time. I've no idea.
4. There's no power anywhere except for Northern Vermont...

People disappearing entirely, the Sun's mysterious and unexplainable vanishing act - these I've had time to adjust to, or at least get used to but number 4 is one I didn't expect.. but when I came cruising up route 7 this morning more and more street and store lights flickered on until I was all the way back in Burlington, looking as lit up as the day I left it. Unexplainable..

But, you know, what's new?
I think it's time for a  well earned rest though. I guess I can start recording the life and times of me again now I have power.

So there's that.