Thoughts on February that's gone.
It was sunnier than I expected. Despite a week or so of cold weather, two or three snowy days, it has been pretty warm.
I've spent hours and hours on Facebook, feeling at times overwhelmed by grief and despair about the state of the world, aching with the longing to reconnect with a natural world that is fast disappearing. Only sometimes have I felt hopeful, even though intellectually I am a hopeful person, hopeful that the spiritual myth we are telling ourselves will change -- well, it will change whether we want it to or not, that's a fact.
Still learning the language of this place, the texture of the days, the paths through the forests, the rhythm of the seaside, I stumble through my daily walks along the suburban roads of my neighborhood, stop by the beaches and rocky outlooks to stare at the ocean. I venture into the strangeness of these western woods, so similar and so different from the woods of Ontario that I knew so well, listening nerves straining for bear or cougar, cedar smell so familiar, water rushing down rain-swollen mountain-sides so foreign. I watch the sacred trees on the mountains making rain, mists marching along their own mystical journeys, sometimes eastward, sometimes creeping up from Howe Sound northward over Elphinstone. I don't understanding the meanings. Not yet.
I have read and read and read until my eyes were scratchy. I've watched gurus and prophets of doom, activists and anarchists on video, trying to get a sense of the zeitgeist. I have watched the unheeding hyptonized masses in thrall to the old story of conquest and control, of exponential growth and exploitation, consumerism and acquisition, winners and losers, in turns angry and sad, loving and impatient, furious and resigned. Occasionally, I find compassion for myself and the world. Occasionally, I am at peace. I am at peace slightly more as time goes on. I think. I think this is good overall.
And I have ordered seeds and supplies, scrounged around for leaf mold and compost, chatted with some of the other tenants of our house about possibilities in our garden, and done loads and loads of daydreaming. And I have made expansive and impossible lists of things I want and browzed through luscious catalogues of plants indigenous and exotic that I might grow here and that are beautiful.
I bought some delicious yarn and I'm knitting up a lace-pattern scarf for my daughter. The color ways are surprising me by being earthier than I expected, lots of browns and greens, not quite as pink and purple as I first thought. Hopefully, my daughter will like it. She requested pink.
And, oh yes, I have escaped into lots of old episodes of British mysteries on youtube.
One morning my son sent me a photo via text of his face obscured by an oxygen mask and the terse message that there had been a fire in his apartment building and that he was in the hospital with smoke inhalation.
An appalling sense of alarm, the bottom falling out, my mind resolutely refusing to go there, then I texted him back. "Where are you What happened?"
He was released after several hours of tests and observations but had no home to go home to in the sense that although his unit had not burned, smoke damage to the building meant it was not safe for any of the residents to return.
The next several days he was busy going through his things and packing what he wanted to keep, emptying out his life of over 8 years. His dad helped him move his things and put them in storage. My son hates the motel where he and many of his fellow tenants have had to take up temporary lodging, until the restoration work is done.
It wasn't until a week or two later in a conversation about the events when the true horror of it became clear to me and immediately my mind turns away from it, unable to stay with it. The firemen thought everyone had been evacuated. D. is such a sound sleeper that neither the firealarm nor the pounding on his door roused him. What did rouse him perhaps we'll never know. Some time of initial confusion in a black, smoke-filled apartment, then he was crawling down the hall trying to find air and the exit. A headlong fall down the stairs as he blacked out. Coming to and fighting off EMS personnel trying to help him sit up, coughing and retching.
Somehow, he had his wallet and mobile phone in his coat pocket which he had grabbed on his way out, but his pants were torn to the point of indecency. The shock of surviving and the feeling of being alone, not sure what to do next.
I was desperate, on the other side of the country, communicating with him by text, trying to contact his father through his sister, grateful for his friend close by who was able to get to his side at the hospital and who helped him through the first few hours until he was able to reach his dad.
I still don't know what I feel exept for the helplessness and the shock of it.
Tentatively exploring a new story for our dying world. Some say the next buddha will be the sangha.