Saturday, January 17, 2015
I remember fondly back to the early to mid 2000’s when the U.N. was working feverishly on climate mitigation. The UNFCCC had a huge budget and was pressuring large and small Countries alike to cut emissions to 1970-80’s levels regardless of economic upheavals it caused. They screamed that since record keeping started in 1880 that global warming was spinning out of control; the warmest years on record since 1880 was 2001 to 2011.
It all start to unravel in 2010 with the Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajokull eruption and over the next two years the eruption of Bardarbunga, Grimsvotn and finally in 2015 the monstrous eruption of the dormant volcano Katia. Air traffic came to a sudden stand still as volcanic ash filled the skies; temperatures plummeted as the ash scattered and absorbed solar radiation.
December 8th 2015; I’m still mourning the passing of my beloved wife of 38 years. The tunnel I dug from the garage door to her place of burial has since caved in from the weight of the snow over head. What’s left of the tunnel, about five feet I now use to store our supplies from the useless freezers. It’s been a month since we last had power and all the houses myriad of electrical appliances are now of no use. I’m having a small celebration after tunneling and cutting down one of our 30 year old oak trees a task that has taken the most of the last two months to complete. The wood shed is again full of seasoned wood and with the addition of the old oak I should have wood to cook on and heat for the next six months if I ration correctly. I have two more old oaks in the yard so I should be able to obtain a supply of wood that will outlast my supply of food if I can find them buried in the snow.
January 12th, 2016; I was a woken last night by a woofing crackling sound; I combed the house and attic and can find nothing out of sorts. I will check on my two neighbors after first light.
After clearing two cave ins along the tunnel to my lower neighbors house, the last being just a few feet from their front door, I’ve found that their house has collapsed under the weight of the snow. Calling their names at the top of my lungs and banging on fallen beams I hear no responses. It would be impossible to dig and search the destroyed structure and I’ve returned to my house with a heavy heart.
The longest tunnel of the two is towards the street, then a good hundred feet to the Nichol’s house at street level. I’ve found that tunnel is completely blocked with solid ice and packed snow. I am totally alone now.
I’m so happy and I have to say proud that I realized early on that we were facing a nuclear winter brought on by the volcanic activity. While the internet was still up I researched different ways to protect the house from the weight of heavy snow and ice. So far it has worked; packing snow and ice, constructing what could only be called an igloo over and around the house. It was a huge project but day by day as the snow built up I raised the walls and slowly cleared and shaped the tightly packed snow over the top of the house, finally beating the snow to solid ice and reinforcing the walls and top daily until it was packed tight to six feet deep, deeper on the walls. As the snow fell and continued to get deeper, I made trip after trip to the grocery stores in the area and other big box stores and filled two bedrooms full of canned and preserved foods. When the Government finally decided to tell people to stock up I was finished and working on saving my house. I stocked up on pure gas in a number of cans to run my generators if the need arises. I spoke with my primary Doctor and begged and cheated until I managed to stock up large quantities of my two prescriptions. I’m pretty set.
January 25th 2016; my bedroom clock says 10:15am but the windows are dark; I’m going to the surface today.
Five hours of digging and packing snow on the sides of the tunnel stairway towards the surface and I’m exhausted, I’ll hold off on breaching the surface until tomorrow morning.
January 26th 2016; finished the dig and the weather is beautiful up here; bright sunshine with a gentle breeze. I’m going back down and get a lawn chair and sit in the sun for awhile. I can see from this angle that my neighbor’s house at the street also has collapsed and is covered in a thick blanket of snow. From what I can figure with just the tops of the trees showing in our area the snow has to be about thirty five feet deep and I see no structures above the snow level. I’m a human sun dial; I haven’t sat in the sun for four months or so now; the suns heat is putting me to sleep.
January 27th 2016; I’ve found a friend; or should I say she’s found me. I haven’t heard scratching at the door since our dog passed five years ago; I knew that sound as soon as I walked into the garage. She’s a mixed breed of about forty pounds with dark brown black thick hair. I’ve spent the whole morning thawing her out and working the clumps of ice out of her feet and lion like mane. She is kissing me to death and I have to say I had no idea I was so lonely. With a belly full of food she’s sound asleep in the family room and seems to have taken over the couch.
I’m going to take this opportunity to return to the surface and look around a bit. Jamie my new dog’s tracks come from the south. Looks as though she carefully checked out the ruins of the Nichol’s house and then must have smelled me from where I’d been sitting. Her trail in the snow works back and forth until about fifteen feet from the opening into the snow and then a straight line to and down the snow stairs. I see no other tracks in the fresh snow that had fallen over night and her tracks should be covered within the hour by the looks of the dark clouds. I’m covering the entrance with a piece of plywood and let it be covered in snow. As a precaution I’ve reinforced the garage door and have stationed one of my 12ga. shotguns within easy reach and on that end of the house; I’m still alive today from thinking safely and thinking of all possibilities I can.
January 28th 2016; I have a problem; I have completely forgotten how often a dog has to go outside to go to the bathroom. It’s also leaving a clear sign that we live here; deep under the snow but someone lives here.
February 1st 2016; Bear tracks at the snow stairs entrance; a big bear, I don’t see him but he has to be nearby. Jamie is whining and wants to go back underground; I wonder if she’d been hunted by bears before finding me?.
February 2nd 2016; More reinforcements; I spent all day yesterday and most of today working on traps and doubling the strength of all of the doors leading into the house along with hardening the new door to the outside at the stairs entrance to the surface. The windows I can’t do a thing about but they are thirty five feet deep and on the inside of the solid ice I packed to make the igloo; I’ve spread my remaining firearms throughout the house and in doorways for easy access. I don’t leave the safety of the house now unless I’m heavily armed. I spent a couple hours cleaning the area around the snow stairs of dog poop and raked the snow erasing as many paw and foot prints as I was able; I’m hoping for a heavy snow fall. I love Jamie but she has put us both at great risk if our area is now patrolled by bears or other critters; we will have to be very careful now. I’ve dug a small area into the snow from the back door of the house and I’m following Jamie around until she’s done with her duty and picking it up and throwing it into the area under the deep snow and inside of the igloo footing.
March 15th 2016; nothing to report other than Jamie continues to enrich my life. I finally figured out to turn one bathroom into her private bathroom and made the shower into her own toilet area. It’s easy to clean and we’ve stopped marking our home with our scents. The bear activity has slowed and it’s been two weeks since seeing any tracks in our immediate area. I’ve began to lightly patrol our surrounding area and being on the surface for extended times it would appear that the sky is lightning, still filled with heavy clouds and snow but defiantly lightning up. The new fallen snow is now completely white where for months it had been a shade of grey. I figure the snow depth to be nearly forty feet deep and deeper in heavy drift areas.
April 3rd 2016; snow depth has dropped to thirty feet deep by my estimate; we are defiantly in the spring thaw and snow is falling and dripping off the tops of the trees. I’m worried about pooling water pushing on the igloo but I’m hopeful that it will find a way to run off and around the sides.
April 20th 2016; I dug out and buried both my neighbors without fan fare; grisly work. Snow levels continue to drop and the sun is out most days; if feels so good.
May 1st 2016; Global warming is back and I’m so happy. Most areas have dropped to ten feet or less of snow cover and the weather is in the 60’s. I haven’t found one house that wasn’t collapsed under the snow on our hill; I hope to begin to reach further out as the snow melts more.
May 10th 2016; I now have a snow cleared spot in my backyard; if I get down on my hands and knees I think I can see green starts of lawn. My supplies are getting lower but I had planned on a much longer winter wonderland than what’s actually happening now. At this rate I might be able to plant a garden for this summer.
May 30th 2016; I see a contrail in the clear sky; somewhere there is a working airport. There is much more damage than I was realizing; houses smashed, trees down, most of the telephone poles are down crossing streets with cables and blocking the roads as they clear of snow. 70 degrees this afternoon and plants are poking their heads out from under the last of the snow banks.
June 1st 2016; it’s over; an Army truck drove slowly up our street today clearing power poles and trees. They stopped and asked if I needed any help; we all laughed until my stomach hurt. My house is the only house in the County they said that was still standing. I offered to barbeque them a steak; huge laughs all around. One solder noticed all the crosses along the driveway; “neighbors” is all that was said. He nodded and shook his head as he walked away.
Things are almost back to normal now unless you count losing seventy five percent of the population in one major disaster. I have a new neighbor that is building a house half way down the street; it’s going to be nice to have someone close to talk too after this. Jamie has found they have a nice Germany Sheppard male dog; I think we are going to be having puppies in short order by the looks of things, I can’t wait.
This ends my short diary of most of the disaster; I wish my wife was here to see the end.
Jamie had her puppies last night; I worked through the night as midwife. Seven new lives; four females and three males, all are already asked for. Things are getting back to order.
From the Ramblings
My name is Taem Kim; I’ve been given the great honor of paper and pencil to write of my life. This honor has been blessed on me by the Sergeant of the guard Liu Kim. I wish to honor him; he is a great man. I have been sentenced to death by firing squad for my crimes against the State and I must hurry to get my writings down.
I was born October 23rd 1983 in cell block Six, Camp 9 by my mother who was a political prisoner of the DPRK. She and my father were kidnapped on June 16th 1983 along the western edge of Seoul, South Korea. My mother and father both were outspoken political writers against the the Kim dynasty of the North. I was told that they were returning from a speaking engagement and were stopped on a remote road by commandos of the North and taken over the border and imprisoned. Neither my Mother nor Father were given a trial; they were separated from that moment on.
My Mother was given to the Captain of the Guard shortly after arriving at Camp 9 as a wife/mistress as she was a beautiful woman. She was allowed to come to full term; a great honor given her by the Captain. I was taken from her at the moment of birth and only saw her once at my Fathers execution.
My first memory as a small child was being taken to the women’s side of the prison and forced into a small dirty cell with a woman that I was told was my mother; I was six or seven. I had no recollection of this woman as I had been taken away at birth. We spend one full day and night eating and sleeping together before being awaken early and marched to the execution yard. We were roughly shoved to the front of the execution yard between hundreds of prisoners ordered there to watch the Public Executions of the day. We were halted directly in front of a post that had been pounded into the ground and stood about six feet high; it was numbered 21 in a long line of identical posts running in both directions. It was covered in layers of old dried blood and was pocked with bullet holes. A small sickly tattered man with ripped rotten clothing was tied to the post by three Uniformed Guards; a torn label that read AO1271 was crudely sown to the right upper chest area of his shirt. He had horrible scars covering his arms that looked like thick twisted ropes Kris crossing both arms and running from wrist to upper arm and over both shoulders. Through his torn shirt I could see his chest was also covered in scars. Lesser new cuts and welts filled in the crevasses between the deep old scars on his arms and face, his head hung to his chest as they finished tying him; one guard turned and walked directly to my Mother and I. He asked if we had any words for the Prisoner. I remember looking up at my Mother and seeing a single tear running down her face; she said no. We were both grabbed and pushed backwards several yards.
He did not raise his head or show any indication that he understood his crimes during the reading of his sentence.
I jumped as the bark of the automatic rifles spit their death.
Directly after the ceremony I was taken back to the men’s side of Camp 9 and placed in isolation. I was beaten for four days before the Captain of the Guard released me to the infirmary.
I was moved back to my cell block after two weeks of healing from the beatings. There was a man in the infirmary with horrible wounds from beatings and torture; he was tied as I was and rode along with me in the bed of the truck to my block. The Sergeant of the guard Liu Kim met us at the gate. He ordered me to tend to the prisoners wounds; he explained my life was tied to the life of the new prisoner and if he died, I’d die too. I washed and tended to his wounds every minute of the day and night. Five weeks passed before he showed signs of recovery; he was very fat and of little fitness. He wished daily to die and be released from his torment.
At nine weeks my blessed Captain released me from my duties of the fat prisoner and he was taken away; I was returned to my work unit very fit after so much time at rest. I have not seen the unfit prisoner since.
We have a new prisoner in our unit; he’s fair of skin and of Political stature; we’ve been warned to treat him with respect. He’s been bunked along side of me and he speaks treasonous thoughts in the early hours of the night when no one but I can hear him. He speaks of great wealth and unlimited food; my stomach aches from his words. He says that food and wealth is unlimited for a hard worker outside of the prison and South of the DMZ in South Korea, just miles away from the wire of our Camp; no more than sixty miles from where we now lay.
I dream of such comforts.
I’ve been assigned to Southern wire cleaning and conditioning along with Dong Kim our soft political prisoner. Our jobs are to pull weeds and clear brush along the electrified wire. We with ten other prisoners cut and hoe everything back twenty feet from the wire to dust. Our group is charged with cleaning along fifty miles of the border fence that separates North and South Korea. We’ve been on this duty for three weeks as of this coming week. Kim continues to talk of escape in the early hours of the night and I fear of detection. I’ve decided to attempt to escape on our next one week posting to cleansing the wire, then flee South with comrade Kim.
On the night of the sixth there is little moon and we slip from our cell block and clear the parade yard without being seen. I’m surprised how few guards there are patrolling the prison; the guard’s houses are dark and the dogs are quiet. The night is warm and a slight breeze blows directly south; I dream as we walk of a full stomach and soft living.
The border fence appears out of the darkness and we stand just feet from it looking at its height and double wire. I’ve never looked directly at the border fence before as it is forbidden by the guards to even sneak a look while clearing debris during our work days; doing so warrants a swift beating and removal from the clearing team, soft easy work compared to others. There are innumerable electrical insulators with heavy wire crossing the face of the fence running taunt between the posts no more than a few inches between wires. Barbed wire covers the back of the fence facing the southern side its barbs each a full twenty centimeters long and razor sharp; fence top woven with feet deep of twisted concertina wire and cement post tops embedded with broken glass. A shudder runs through my body; Dong Kim picks up a small branch from where we cleaned the brambles two days earlier and touches an electrified wire. A loud snap and the branch erupt into fire and we both jump back; my bowels loosen. Electricity I know nothing of; it’s magic that I can’t comprehend.
“We must dig under.” Dong whispers quietly, he waves me to join him at a small natural dip in the ground. I grab a section of tree bark using it as a hoe pulling sand from under the lowest wire. I’m careful and handle only the farthest centimeters of bark keeping as far away from the wire as I’m able. I’m covered in nervous sweat before even the first telling of effort enters my arms and chest.
Dong Kim grabs my arm hard; his eyes barely visible in the dark are wide and scared. He nods his head towards the east; I hear it now also. A patrol is nearing where we are working. Our labor has only opened a hollow in the ground under the wire barely large enough to tightly squeeze under and shallower on the south side.
“Wish me luck!” Dong pushes me back and dives for the hollow. I fall on my butt and watch as he flattens himself and wiggles under the fence. His feet kick sand in the air and he pushes sand to the side as though he is swimming in sandy water.
The flash is blinding and a deafening snap hits my ears; my eyes adjust to the glare of the sun from the guards flashlights as a rifle butt impacts my forehead.
I now remember the stink of burning clothing and searing flesh; I sit tied tightly in isolation awaiting my next interrogation and torture. I hope for a quick death; my thoughts return to visions of warm food and soft blankets; my head lies softly on pillows as I drift gently to sleep.
Keys sound in locks; my time has come. I will dream of ample food and soft living as the click of safeties announces my ending; I taste sweet warm meat gravy….
From the Ramblings