It is Earth’s final snowfall / and everyone is here.
They’ve come by boat, plane, train, car, you name it—if they had the cash to spare, they’re there. People of all nationalities, wearing every variation of snow gear imaginable, all stand assembled in a massive throng, all waiting to witness the seminal event. They shout at each other in dozens of languages, trying to be heard above the din of the crowd, their bodies huddled together like penguins might have huddled in winter, but not for lack of warmth—rather, a lack of space. Parents search desperately for their children; friends call out to each other; the sound builds and builds until at last! the first snowflakes fall. And quiet spreads.
Except that’s not right.
it is Earth’s final snowfall / and you’re the only one who came.
The landscape is barren here, open rock marked by puddles, with little else to show except your tent and your buggy—you’ve been traveling for days trying to make it on time. Now, you watch the tiny crystals drift to the ground and melt on impact. The scene is bleak. You thought you would love the snow, but there is little joy in watching it fall alone. You feel like crying. You don’t cry. Cry, and you’ll miss it. Someone has to remember.
Except that’s not right either.
Because it is Earth’s final snowfall / and you see in on TV. The “BREAKING NEWS” interrupts your documentary, replaces it with endlessly looping footage of sheets of white peeling from the sky. “The weather is going out with a bang!” the on-the-scene reporter exclaims. You stand, shake your head. “Welp, we’re all fucked,” you say. Turn the TV off. Go to the kitchen to make toast.
But that can’t be it.
Because it is Earth’s final snowfall / and you wonder, why do we keep calling it Earth’s final snowfall anyway?
Earth will have snow again. Eventually. Duh. It’s just that we won’t be there to see it. It should be “humanity’s final snowfall,” really. The last little sleet rain of the Anthropocene. Mankind’s closing whiteout. The final blizzard before the second age of the lizard.
But that’s not it either, is it.
Because it is Earth’s final snowfall / and the forces of nature descend vengeful from the heavens.
Homo sapiens has wreaked havoc on the world, and now, the world will return the favor. We foretold the apocalypse as rains of fire, but when have humans ever been right about these things? No, the apocalypse comes as wind, as ice, biting cold; it finds and enters every home splinters and crushes and buries alive.
Except that it is Earth’s final snowfall / and the children bring their sleds. They have snowball fights, roll balls and stack them and adorn them with buttons, because that’s what snow is meant for, right? No need to tell them it won’t come again, the parents think, until tomorrow. Give them this chance to live joyfully.
Except that it is Earth’s final snowfall / and the richest of the rich have claimed it; the plane ticket prices are exorbitant, and don’t even try to rent in the nearest hotel if you’re not a decamillionaire. Good luck reaching the peak of the mountain if you can’t pay thousands for a guide, don’t own a helicopter, haven’t thrived on the system of exploitation that drove the warming to start with.
Except that it is Earth’s final snowfall / and the military has secured the site; they expect masses of people and will let no one in; it’s a safety hazard, they say, but really
it is Earth’s final snowfall / and no one is left to watch it; we’ve torn each other to shreds over oil or something, and the flakes fall easy, relieved, thankful to remain unobserved;
it is Earth’s final snowfall and it ends just before you make it, starts just after you fall asleep, happens on the other side of the world or ten miles south or one peak over from where the meteorologists said, the few dozen flakes drift down right around you as you walk to work and you don’t even notice, until there’s a microphone aimed at you asking what it was like, your plane is delayed and you miss it by a day; you’ve got better things to do, calls to make, cards to swipe, spreadsheets to fill, kids to raise, money to save, bills to pay,
it is Earth’s final snowfall and nobody cares.
Except that’s not right either.
Because it is Earth’s final snowfall //
and nobody knew.
Cora Ballek is a sophomore studying Environmental Policy and Music at UC Davis. In her free time, she writes prose and poetry, composes and records music, beatboxes, and builds with Lego. Her work has previously appeared in Open Ceilings and The Palouse Review.
Yasmeen Abedifard (She/Her) is an Iranian-American 25 year old Bay Area Native and a recent M.F.A. graduate in Visual Arts from Cornell University. Her work is centered around storytelling mediums, such as comics, storyboarding, and animation.