Jendela Etgar Keret

diterjemahkan dari tulisan Etgar Keret dalam seri “what writers from around the world see from their windows” di The Paris Review Tempat paling nyaman yang pernah kukunjungi untuk menulis adalah di…


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Ruins of the old world

I have an urge to explore the old cities. I’m ready. My grandfather would teach me a skill and once having mastered it, he’d ask me for a better way of doing it. He always said it was best to be lazy like a fox.

I’ve never seen a fox. Though I could identify one. The elders teach us of many animals that most have never seen.

Our outpost is very self-sufficient. With solar panels, rain collection and other life support systems. The outside a patchwork of metal and other scraps. It looks like a large spaceship, made from junk, stranded on a mountain ridge.

We are always busy. Like worker bees buzzing around our hive. At our elevation, it stays at a safe temperature long enough to venture outside. And luckily we receive good rainfall.

Speaking of bees, it feels odd to know so much about a thing I’ve never seen with my own eyes. One day I’ll go out and experience what I’ve only read about on an old smartphone. The elders will soon trust my skills and resilience as I do.

Before finding the outpost, we could never predict when temperatures were safe outdoors. If out too long, a sudden storm could freeze us in our tracks. Today the outpost’s tracking system allows us to stay a step ahead of massive howling snow storms.

Upon contact we offered help restoring the outpost’s communications and weather tracking systems. The climatologists in-turn taught us how to coexist with ongoing monstrous weather events. This knowledge swap meant we’d all survive.

The elders keep alive an oral history of our past when climate was temperate and calmer than it is now. A history hard to imagine given extreme and chaotic weather is all I’ve ever known.

The elders speak of it with a looming sadness. They were reckless with our biosphere and acted too late to reverse the damage. Now we are cautious and respectful of nature. We see it’s devastating power everyday. And all efforts go consciously toward what is necessary for survival.

The story is re-told so often, it is as if I had been there despite it being before my time. I am the second youngest of the group. We have a few elders, a mix of people twice my age and then there’s me and Mouse.

She’s my shadow.

“Hey Patcher, hey Patcher” she says while I do odd jobs around the outpost. With dark ash on her nose, dirty hands, freckles and buzzed short hair like mine. She insisted.

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