Let’s talk about the worst year in human history. It was rough. Tough decisions were made in the pursuit of health and survival. Those who persisted will forever wear the completion of this twelve-month stretch like a merit badge. Local writer and Barstow & Grand editor Eric Rasmussen is referring, of course, to the year 536. A cataclysmic volcano in Iceland blanketed the planet in a mysterious fog. It snowed all summer. Crops died. The resulting famine set the stage for bubonic plague outbreaks that decimated the Roman Empire, leading to its collapse.

2020 was pretty bad too, but if there’s one thing we can take away from 536, it’s that eventually, we have to move on. But before we head into a new year, it might be worthwhile to take a look back at the good coping mechanisms we all developed, and how we might want to keep those tips in clutch for the next plague.

This is the sixth installment of “Visual/Voice,” which features some of the best writers in the region visually vocalizing their words that appear in our pages.