{Byblos Papyri} “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

The Road is one of those rare books that will be read three-hundred years from now.

When humans are living under domes in undersea colonies they will cite The Road as the proverbial fork in the road when it all came undone. They will not read it as literature or as history, but as an inspired eschatological text, like the Book of Ezekiel or the Book of Revelations.

They will erect underwater temples in honour of The Road but not to its author, Cormac McCarthy, because it is idolatrous to worship the instrument of wisdom which can deflect attention away from wisdom itself. Icons will be commissioned. Lovely gold-flecked iconostases detailing the many survivalist woes of the unnamed father and son of the text.

Liturgies will be conducted in their honour. Sermons welling up from zealous caretakers of The Road, springing out over the eager congregation like a fountain of knowledge. The searing post-Apocalyptic scenes from the text will make the denizens of this underwater community thankful for the many bounties they have in their possession and will remind them not to take their commonwealth for granted. For their civilization rose from the ashes of that violent archaic world. Rose and then descended into the deep blue sea.

They will be admonished to learn by heart the tribulations of that emaciated world of yore. For that is the sacramental function of eschatological texts: to lay the ancient world to rest, making space for a new world to expand its gills and breathe.

The honour paid to the image passes to the prototype. The suffering of ancestors sanctified. Blue is the colour of human life. White is the uncreated light of God. The glaucous road lies between.