(…continued from previous) Yet the more they had tried to withdraw themselves from the failed machinations of human civilisation, the more that they strived to untangle themselves from decomposing social structures, futile stereotypes and self-serving institutions, the more they found themselves increasingly connected to nature – in a new way, that even they couldn’t understand. But they could certainly feel it, almost like an inner door of awareness that had suddenly opened wide, just as all other doors seemed to be closing shut, one by one. It was a connection that grew steadily in strength with each day that passed, almost as if it was heading towards some kind of grand culmination. All they could do was wait, and try to listen to this new ‘voice’. Over the next few months, the role of the Minimalists would become pivotal in one of the greatest tragedies Earth had ever faced.
As their numbers in society began to steadily climb, sporadic reports began to emerge from across the globe of increasingly frequent sightings of Minimalists spending time on beaches, staring at the horizon. Over time, these scenes became common and, as with everything else that the Minimalists did, it was seen as yet another ‘benign quirk’ of their poorly understood ‘cult’. They would spend unusual lengths of time (even by their own standards) on beaches, rocks and cliff edges over the ocean without barely moving, always looking out into the horizon. Their gaze was stubbornly frozen, fixated into the distance, unlike their usual, more relaxed, meditative observation of nature. It was a worrisome gaze, but there was also a calmness about it. It was as if they were on the lookout, waiting for something that they had been expecting, something that was long overdue. Their posture was almost military, whatever the weather: straight up, chest out, ready to face whatever was coming. Some of them had to be taken to hospital with sunburn and dehydration, having suddenly collapsed after prolonged stays outside without food or water. Shift systems were being organized by some groups of Minimalists to avoid this, and pretty soon the ‘staring at the sea’ phenomenon became a permanent fixture in the landscape, and in the news. Was it a storm look-out? A monitor for aliens? A vigil? No one knew. Not even the Minimalists.
The answer came on April 23rd. Just below the horizon, a strange strip of colour had emerged. What was normally the darkest, deepest blue colour of the ocean, was now a much lighter, greyish olive-green. Something was wrong.
That was when he collapsed.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books