On Our Well Being
I am worried most of all about our well being.
It seems I have picked a precarious time to be alive, history repeating itself on a massive scale, a quick preview loop of all the ways we have wronged one another. It is as if we can never learn, the evacuation order is always too late, the march is already underway, the ballot cast.
I find myself frozen by the overwhelming ugliness American politics at the moment and the perpetual navel gazing my generation participates in. And I am exempt from neither. I worry we will never be able to make anything better unless we begin to look outside of ourselves, because what is self preservation when there is no world in which to preserve yourself for?
Our daily lives are already the stuff of short stories gone awry. We become the very demigods we once dreamed up.
I have never felt smart enough, nor cultured enough, and far too privileged to have a real opinion about anything other than myself and I fear it is stunting both my writing and my well being. All of this is true. And so rather I take notes, hoping that observing the way all of this shakes down will mean something to myself down the road.
Notes I have recently taken:
Aluminum pools when it melts.
Avocado trees bleed when they are dead.
Mud moves just as fast as water.
Genetic mutations predispose you to certain cancers and not eating processed meat can stave it off a few years or even a lifetime if you are lucky.
The acrid smell of smoke will stick in the back of your throat for weeks.
There are echoes in the desert.
The root of dandelion can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
I sleep with my mouth open.
Our trailer leaks at the seams as do the skylights inside.
Lately, and I do mean specifically the last few months, weeks, and days, I have felt hedged in by disaster. The hills behind us burn, the hills north of us slide, the ash and the water pool outside the front door and work their way into my hair and my clothing and the vents of my car.
I am both compelled to say something and faced with inadequacy of my language. How can we better take care of one another in a time when the only thing to do is take care I worry I suffer from root rot like the plant in the corner, the leaves slowly yellowing along the bottom.
California has never felt more precarious to me, this space of my life, my youth, my love. Pressed against the very edge of the continent, they say things in safer places about how we shouldn’t live here, how the houses shouldn’t be there, how we should know now to get out of the way. If you have California milled into the marrow of your bones then you know as I do, there is no other way, no where else for us to go. It calls to you even when you are far away and living in a other winter, you hear the off shore winds and feel the scare of fire late at night, the silence out your window before the waves crash and the earth begins to rumble. And you always come back, it has something to do with our well being.