Today I sit with a changed reality. We have power, heat, lights. It will take time for the local grocery stores to restock but we are fine. We were always fine, despite the continuing alerts and warnings to prepare to evacuate, which went out when the cell towers overloaded and closed down.
What I’m with this morning is how fragile “civilization” is. When our local grocery store knew it had to close, they gave away ice cream. People were fighting over free ice cream. No one was hungry. In this affluent area, people probably rarely eat ice cream anyway, but I think there is a sense of survival that when activated means eat while and what you can. My cats ate more than usual. They seemed to know it was important to stock up. Who knows when food will next appear? It’s primal.
What I’ve come to understand in this short lesson in how fragile survival can become, as one becomes concerned with the basic needs of food, warmth, and feeling safe. Next comes cleanliness and internet connectivity. I’ve now ordered an AM-FM rechargeable battery powered radio like we had in the old days so I know what is going on.
I’ve also realized that we often classify homeless people as mentally ill, but I must admit I saw people wandering around looking for ways to charge their phones, and they did not look their most competent best.
What does a week on the streets do to a person? How would I do? I could feel my nervous system unraveling as I was on constant alert. Will I be evacuated? What should I take? How much can I carry? What about my cats? I smell smoke. Where is it? How close?
Today, I’m allowing myself to come back to center, to let my nervous system feel it can soothe, and return to a calmer way of being, but the truth is that the infrastructure where I live is fragile. It has not been maintained. As a country, we have not looked toward the future. We’ve been short-sighted. Will we change, or is it the beginning of the end of life as I’ve known it? I’m an optimist and prefer to look on the bright side but I think we need a leader right now. We need leadership and I hope this election allows a leader to emerge and deal with the challenges of these times.