Well, here we are. Three hundred posts in, and look at how much the world has changed. I'm not going to get all misty-eyed and go on about the way things used to be, because frankly I think that most of us have begun to live in the now. We know what the world around us is, and that to survive in it for the long haul is going to require focus and dedication of purpose.
Over the last week or so I have been seriously considering the future of this blog, as it pertains to my own future and that of my loved ones. I know that any day could bring my death, whether it be from a zombie attack or slipping on the ice and breaking my neck. I know that there is risk in waking with every sunrise.
Early on I did what I could to entice other people to post here. This blog has been a way for so many people to discover other survivors of The Fall, to receive needed help, to find a place to live. And as long as I live, I will be here. My concern lately is that I won't always be here, and because of that I have begun to bring more people to the fore, so that should my voice go silent, the idea of Living With the Dead will live on.
Each day that I am away from the compound teaches me something new and frightening about the world as it is now. Part of the reason I stayed home with my wife during the initial outbreak of the zombie plague was because I had seen too many zombie movies. Moving about seemed like a sure way to lose people, get attacked, and die. Jess and I made our home a fortress and defended it as brutally as needed. We did everything we could to save others, and built a home for ourselves that evolved very quickly, by necessity.
So much of my experience so far has been from that perspective. Looking out on a group I helped bring together, seeing that group as almost the totality of my world. I never had to survive some of the mind-breaking tragedies that so many others have endured. I didn't have to run at top speed from place to place just to avoid being eaten, or shot, or raped.
I'm starting to get it now. Even though we are camped out at the nursing home, secure in one spot, I feel the terrifying ease with which fate could snip me from the mortal coil every time I go out. I feel the desperate hunger of living on minimum calories because we're just not sure how long we can stay here, and don't want to waste food. If we stay out here for long enough, there will be famine times, days on end with no food at all. I know so many people who have told me their stories about the fear and hunger, both growing strong enough within them that many contemplated murdering in order to steal food, or even eating people.
I'm starting to understand. I haven't had to deal with anything close to what they have yet, but now I can see how easy it would be to start having those thoughts. I'm starting to see this world for what it really is; not a group of people bound by a single purpose, but rather a mishmash of individual stories whose plot lines have gotten tangled. Each person who has survived so far is a collection of painful experiences and hard choices, balanced by a desire to do right, for the most part.
That's part of the reason I have tried to get others to write posts on here. For far too long I was focused on what was happening at the compound more than I was interested in what was going on in the people within it. Now that I am out here, so many questions have been raised in my mind that never even occurred to me before. So many things that all of us never questioned, and now I am interested in hearing some of the answers.
Over the next few weeks all of us will be exploring the details of all that pondering. My hope is that by understanding the answers, we will better understand ourselves.
Living in a nursing home has made me ask the first real question. I used to work in one of these places, not all that far from my house. In all this time, it never entered my mind to ask this question:
Where are all the old people?
I've been looking into this, and as soon as I am satisfied that I'm not missing something vital, I will relay back to you what I have heard. Maybe a few days.
For those of you who expected this post to be something big and exciting, sorry. I'm trying to survive the same as many of you, now, and am starting to see just how amazing simply watching the sunset or having a meal to eat can be. I'll leave you with this, though--in the time it took us to write three hundred posts, I have become a much happier man than I was. Not as happy as I would have been had the world not crumbled to pieces, but content nonetheless. Being alive is enough for me, with all its triumph and tragedy.