My wish would be for an end to “acts of God.” No earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, droughts, plagues; no day of judgment. I should be torn about this, because logically I know that these kinds of upheavals made our world in the first place and have made it what it is for us in key ways–we wouldn’t have mountains, valleys, bay cities, or painted deserts without them. I found out this week that natural disasters have preserved cultures; there’s an ancient stepwell in India that has been kept in perfect condition because of a mudslide. This stepwell is remarkable; it’s a work of art. But I think that in my last moments I would be a deeply sentimental, single-minded person, and that I would make excessive gestures to prove, once and for all, how much I loved people the whole time I was here (to make up for times where I didn’t as well as I should). If I could, I think I would trade all the world’s art and beauty yet to come for some guaranteed safety and habitat preservation for its people. Then I’d have to be quick about dying, so I wouldn’t have to think about any less enchanting consequences.
Tracy Rae Bowling co-edits Uncanny Valley. She lives in Iowa City.