by H.E. Taylor
|Chapter 48||Table of Contents||Chapter 50|
Solstice, December 27, 2056
I have not been writing much, because I have been busy with the lichen. Annoyingly, the symbiotic signalling continues to elude me. A colleague at CCU collaborated with me on a paper. “An examination of the laboratory growth rates of the lichen eFontaine1” by Luc C. Fontaine and George R. Collins. eFontaine1 was the proper name, but we all called it eF1.
Last year by unspoken assent, Edie and I both more or less ignored xmas. This year Anna was old enough that she would realize something was up. And we thought the holiday cheer might be good for her.
Edie was alone, as was I. So, with Anna, we kept each other seasonal company. We threaded popcorn and hung the strings. We didn’t have a turkey, but we had a large chicken and we scrimped ahead so we would have lots of food over the holidays. One evening a group of Edie’s Gaian friends came around carolling. Anna clapped her hands in pure joy at the songs.
The next day, Brahmaputra launched another rocket. It is hard to let go of that overriding concern. The Damoclean sword of methane hydrates is no longer hanging overhead. It is being swung wildly about by an unpredictable and unforgiving adversary. I sit and watch Anna play, and all I can think about are launch schedules, methane levels and death counts.
Jon didn’t come home for xmas and he didn’t call. When I called him I got an answering service. Human. It was the first time none of us had been together. I wasn’t lonely, but one notices these signposts drifting by and wonders what they might portend.
Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor
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Last modified July 21, 2013