A little over a month ago, my cousin woke me up in the middle of the night. She led me outside where the horizon was in flames. Neighbors were milling about on the street in their bathrobes. Careful not to wake her girls, I returned to my bedroom to retrieve the two most precious things inside: my cat and my computer. Then began the big wait: should we evacuate or stay put? The girls slept through the night and the adults (their parents and I) fretted away the immediate hours, and then the days, and then the weeks. Everything smelled of ash and we took to wearing surgical masks. School was cancelled indefinitely. The television anchors spoke with urgency at first and then, when the initial excitement was over, their speech patterns slackened.
I had moved to California at the beginning of October with the intentionally vague fear of earthquakes (a.k.a. The Big One).
Now, today, the rain fell with a vengeance, killing at least thirteen people in our area.
Whenever I get down about climate change and the way the planet will probably shake the human race off like a coat of fleas, I then think (like a know-it-all Buddhist) that all we ever had was the present moment anyway. What’s right here, right now.
As Milan Kundera once wrote, “There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact.”