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That Thing with Feathers: Hope and Literature in a Time of Upheaval

Where do you find hope? What does it ask of you? In today’s That Thing With Feathers: Hope & Literature in a Time of Upheaval, Torrey House author Brooke Larsen answers a new and challenging hope.


Hope Asks

by Brooke Larsen

Before the sun rose on September eighth, I was startled awake. A tree branch crashed to the ground outside my apartment window. Then I heard what sounded like an explosion as hurricane-speed winds pummeled hundred-year-old trees to the ground.

My partner, who didn’t even wake up during the earthquake that rattled the Wasatch Front earlier in the year, continued snoozing as I sat awake in panic. I went outside and quickly ran back in after receiving a cold gust of dust and leaves to the face. When Andrew’s phone alarm finally woke him up, he started getting ready to drive to work. I told him it wasn’t safe. It took a text from his friend saying, “A tree just fell on me” for him to concede.

The winds started calming down in the afternoon, so Andrew eventually went up to feed the cancer cells he researches at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I sometimes wonder how those cancer cells feel now that a new disease has become a more effective killer.

I suddenly felt more lonely than I had during the entire pandemic.

Soon after Andrew left, the power went out across Salt Lake City. Of course, a place like Huntsman Cancer Institute has a backup generator. My old apartment building? Not so much. With the power went the Internet, which overloaded the cell networks across the entire city. I no longer could make a call or receive a text. I suddenly felt more lonely than I had during the entire pandemic.