Beyond Lions, Tigers, and Bears

All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.
-Sally Ride 

Dear P,

Last night, I had a dream that Voldemort got his body back and I had to go into hiding with my baby cousins Z, G (shown above), and B. I was relieved to wake up and find out that I was not under any immediate threat from the dark lord. This just shows how very unimaginative my post-slumer brain can be, because even if Voldemort did exist, he would be only a small worry in this terrifying world.

There are certain things everyone knows to be afraid of. Terrorism. Plane crashes. Chemical warfare. That the internet will eventually kill our ability to communicate with other people and make everyone depressed.

For the imaginatively neurotic among us, myself included, these niggling fears are only the tip of the iceberg, much like the crust of ice that covers Mount Ranier. The U.S. Geological Survey calls this the United State’s most dangerous volcano, since it sits right over Seattle. The ice would cause the volcano to form “lahars” if it erupts. A lahar is a toxic solution of mud and lava that can spread for miles when the volcano erupts. Basically, remind me to never visit our friend K or the rest of the northwest.

I am sensitive to the dangers of volcanos because I remember when the 2010 volcano erupted over Iceland and prevented most of my friends from coming back to school. Volcanic ash causes jet engines to fail. This is only the most remote, but still terrifying, risk that you could encounter during air travel. Do you know the reason the flight attendants say to “attach your own oxygen mask before assisting the person next to you”? You have roughly fifteen seconds after the oxygen masks fall before you drift into a dreamless sleep and into death’s hazy plateau. That’s the way Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the “Big Bopper” guy went on February 3, 1959, the “Day the Music Died.” Bye, bye, Miss American Pie. Of course, these are only small risks each individual takes for the chance to explore the world. The scariest aspect of air travel is how quickly we can spread diseases around the entire planet. Due to the prevalence of antibiotics and the high densities of urban populations, diseases are primed to evolve to become as virulent as possible. It’s only a matter of time before one of these knock us off the face of the planet.

Who even says the planet is going to last that long, anyway? Asteroids, plate tectonics and global warming all pose a threat to the Earth as we know it. Our paranoia could expand even from there: the Great Glaciation theory is that our universe will eventually expand beyond it’s energy capacity, slow down, and stop.

Sweet dreams,



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