To whoever may read this, in case of our deaths, please send food, seeds, and cattle to Ani Island. Nearly a thousand lives are at stake. Although I don’t know how to direct you the island with coordinates, I hope the following details, as well as my descriptions of our villages, will help you find it. My island home is about three miles long and a mile at its widest point. It’s a verdant shade of green from the beaches that form most of its perimeter to the mountain that rises up sharply from the shore about a quarter of a mile from the waves. At the bases of the island’s waterfalls that bisect the green and black craggy cliffs, freshwater pools smell faintly of the nearby hibiscus flowers. Next to the sea caves of Gaiae, there’s a chink in the mountain, a cleft that regresses back from the beach we departed from. The waterfall in the center of this crevasse got smaller as the boat carried us further out to sea. As the crashing of waves on the shore became quieter, my home departed into a misty dreamscape as it often does when the rain clouds descend and conceal it.
Most importantly, the island is far away from any of the world’s mainlands. Isolation breeds health. Congestion breeds death. I used to accept these laws without question. We had what we needed. We measured time by the sun’s progress across the sky, the sea’s tides, the moon, a sundial in the center of the village, and moments of work, singing, and, more infrequently, laughter. We also used a calendar that Samsara had created when she established Gaiae, one more appropriate for us than the Old World’s. As I grew older, however, I realized the Old World utterly haunted us. Its rhythms still guided our thoughts and actions even if we believed we moved in deliberate opposition to them. People marveled at its inventions, things we didn’t have. The problem was, anyone who attempted to leave the island would break our most serious law. The penalty for that was death.