The younger kids take turns sleeping beside me
when their papa is gone
hands soft and light as lotus petals
if they happen to fall upon me
their skin the colour of abalone
in the moonlight
if I open my eyes to see
Later I step outside, take a look
at the sky beyond the roof and
the cloistering trees
There’s the moon,
soft as cradles, edges blurring
in a blue cloud, then
(*our kids call their dad “papa”)
Here in the southwest coast of Canada, there has been a lot of flooding due to heavy rains. Part of the access road to our rural community was washed away. What did that mean exactly? In our case, a stream underneath the coastal road, which normally trickles through a very large culvert underneath, from the foothills of the coast mountains out to the sea, grew several meters higher, to completely overflowing its banks, and this caused the pavement to collapse down and inward around the culvert. The pavement is only a thin layer above about half a meter of soil, as was later visible once the overflow ebbed away and the damage could be seen. Luckily no one was hurt in our area, but many were hurt elsewhere in the province where flooding and mudslides trapped cars and subsumed entire lower floors of houses.
We were able to walk through the woods to get to the highway (and thus buses, and supplies), but anyone needing emergency services would not have had vehicle access for some time.
The power went out not long after the flood (and with it, for most people, the internet, phone service, and/or, once charged batteries wore down, any devices able to access it). At times like these, one realizes how easy we have it most days. Reliant on electricity and machines — for information, for entertainment, for transportation, for access to essential supplies such as food, heat — basically, for everything.
We ourselves had shelter, alternate heat (I finally lit the fire again, and was able to cook over the woodstove), and drinkable running water. Areas further down the coast were not so lucky. All their water had to be boiled before drinking due to water mains collapsing and becoming contaminated. And there is a housing crisis in this part of the country, as property prices dramatically increase along with rental rates, as well as drug and alcohol problems particularly among marginalized communities, rarely noticed and little talked about by the more privileged in society, (including by the major profiteering news outlets); so many, especially in the cities, are homeless, and vulnerably exposed to the extreme elements, and what with many public service doors conveniently locked, having access to few resources without the required technology. Ignorance, apathy, fear and addiction are real and ongoing pandemics, also among the richest.
In the future, those with hands-on skills will be in shorter supply thus higher demand, especially in the case of emergencies. Meanwhile young careers naturally move more and more into media and factory production and distribution, to meet the current general populace’s subconscious desires. The majority of us these days self-isolate in an attempt to control our psychological environment while ironically being ruled by mainstream culture. At the same time there is an attempt to self-soothe feelings of spiritual isolation through rampant consumerism of all kinds. Ability to survive with or without machines, in the events of regular system overloads both industrial and otherwise (a natural side effect of rampant growth in certain sectors of the global ecocosm) will be as much of a boon as it always has been.
I for one, who have often felt somewhat of a lone wolf or an outsider, all the while craving human companionship, am cognizant of the fact that when it comes to survival, I would be completely lost without the help of my family and friends.
A while back, we went for a hike in a provincial park I was unfamiliar with. I brought my phone along since, like most phones these days, it has an excellent camera and I wanted to take pictures from the viewpoints.
I was so busy going from tree to tree, looking at this and that, I stopped paying attention to the bigger picture, got completely lost and separated from the family. Reading the GPS seemed impossibly confusing as I hadn’t even noted on which side of the large and unfamiliar forest we’d parked. Finally, my family used their phones’ “find my friends” feature to find me (and then my eldest son jogged the two kilometers to meet me and walk me back out to the parking spot). However, if I hadn’t relied on my phone’s abilities and/or others so much, and paid attention to where I was at and what was going on other than inside my own little world, the time they had to spend to get me out of my predicament wouldn’t have been necessary.