THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | Fimbulwinter; The End of the World
It is not easy to imagine what an entire city on fire must look like. It would be easier to imagine what Hell itself looks like: more than two millennia of referential material survive to aid in painting that mental portrait. Perusing Dante, or staring wide-eyed at a tableau of Hieronymus Bosch, even turning one’s ear to the apocalyptic blare and bleating of any dime-a-dozen Evangelical can give one at least an inkling of this. The word itself has been cheapened almost beyond practical use: “go to Hell,” “to Hell with it,” “what the Hell.” It is as if, as the preacher in Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man explains it, the eternal punishment of brimstone were a mild discomfort. Not so: Hell is stench, Hell is immobility, Hell is an eternity of directionless torture, and by eternity is meant the elapsed time it takes for a sparrow to light upon a mountain of a million-billion grains of sand and, carrying one away in his beak, to make it flat.