Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up in earthquake country. Despite the fact that her family home was built on bedrock, she grew up just knowing that, any day, the big one could hit and take everything away.
Now, maybe it was that. Or maybe it was the stories that her father read to her each night, filled with wild rides, and one ring to rule them all, and other battles of good vs. evil. But whatever the reason, she grew up obsessed with tales of the apocalypse.
And as she got older, she learned to store extra food, and how to turn off the water and gas, and stay indoors during lightning storms. In late 1999, she bought extra water and boxes of Duraflame logs in preparation for Y2K. And when she bought a house of her own, she made sure it was seismically up to code.
This house of hers had a huge garden and a second-story window that looked out over the ocean. And when it came time to plant, she didn’t choose flowers. Instead she created an apocalypse garden, where each tree and bush and seed would grow to serve more than one purpose–herbs for cooking and to attract pollinators, cherries for fruit and one day wood, winter and summer squash for food and to shade the delicate roots and stems of newly planted apple and plum. But her favorite was the black bamboo grown in barrels along the back fence. The shoots could be eaten, the stalks could be used to build, and the grove blocked a neighbor’s ugly yard.
That house belongs to some someone else now, and the girl has traded her ocean for the wide skies of New Mexico, but she still carries that garden within her. And in this increasingly uncertain world, those books that inspired her feel less like fiction or fantasy and more like a map for the road ahead.