Last year, my world was huge and filled with infinite possibility. I stood on a rock, familiar,
and safe, with the people I love, looking out at a landscape of extraordinary opportunity. I
created feverishly in my forest den, escaping into a secret space of imagination and
freedom. When the working day was done, I came back to my rock. I scanned the horizon,
content in the knowledge that an incredible journey was about to begin.
I'd struck gold, it seemed. I'd found balance in my life. I had a purpose. I'd discovered
something I was truly good at. Soon, I would share that idea with the great wide world,
confident in finding others who believed in me and could help me on my way.
By winter, everything changed. Something was going on far, far away. I continued to create,
but in the fringes of my mind, I knew something was coming. I looked out, and not a trace
could be seen. I got on with things, and planned, and made merry, but still, I couldn't shake
the feeling that an unknown menace was on its way.
By spring, as the sprigs thawed, compartment by compartment, the Earth shut down. I
thought about all the places I’d been in that vastness now lost to me. The places I'd not yet seen. It had never seemed significant before, but now, inaccessible, the bubble closed in,
and I started to feel different about my rock. I spent more time in my cave, pretending that
my world wasn't shrinking.
I heard the plight of the people carrying on the breeze—the uncertainty and sickness. The
worry and poverty tainted everything it touched. It hung in the air like a melancholic smog,
and I wasn't ready to accept it then. The world was no longer concerned with fun and light. It had a battle on its hands and needed to focus on that. I held no place in this new reality. My skills were no longer required.
But I believed even one smile could make a difference. I sent out the best of them to anyone
who needed it. I projected them across the ether to those I could no longer see. I wrote
down my words, from heart to paper, and sent them out into a declining world. I pushed
back the encroaching storm with resili