New York City is finished," he said. "They can't keep order there, and you can't have business without order. It'll take a hundred years to sort things out and get it all going again." "What do you hear of the U.S. government? I said. "We don't have electricity an hour a month anymore and there's nothing on the air but the preachers anyway." "Well, I hear that this Harvey Albright pretends to be running things out of Minneapolis now. It was Chicago, but that may have gone by the boards. Congress hasn't met since twelve twenty-one." Ricketts said, using a common shorthand for the destruction of Washington a few days before Christmas some years back. "We're still fighting skirmishes with Mexico. The Everglades are drowning. Trade is becoming next to impossible, from everything I can tell, and business here is drying up. It all seems like a bad dream. The future sure isn't what it used to be, is it?" "We believe in the future, sir. Only it's not like the world we've left behind," Joseph said. "How's that?" "We're building our own New Jerusalem up the river. it's a world made by hand, now, one stone at a time, one board at a time, one hope at a time, one soul at a time. . .
If it happens that the human race doesn't make it, then the fact that we were here once will not be altered, that once upon a time we peopled this astonishing blue planet, and wondered intelligently at everything about it and the other things who lived here with us on it, and that we celebrated the beauty of it in music and art, architecture, literature, and dance, and that there were times when we approached something godlike in our abilities and aspirations. We emerged out of depthless mystery, and back into mystery we returned,and in the end the mystery is all there is.