I’m not on my bike today. I’m sitting here on the couch instead, feeling slightly dazed, with orange sky around me from all the fires in the area. Here in Portland it’s not really too bad, but my Facebook feed is full of photos and accounts from friends in suburbs and more outlying areas—here in Oregon and also up and down the West Coast—including friends who have had to evacuate, and friends in prison in Salem who have had other prisons “evacuated into” their population.
What a surreal and frightening reality.
I am reminded again that I was bicycling blissfully several days ago, not thinking of fires. One place that has been evacuated is Estacada, where I biked about a 50-mile round trip a couple of weeks ago to sample vegan cinnamon rolls at a locally owned bakery. I wonder how the owners and workers of that bakery are doing. Have they had to leave their homes? Will their homes be there when they return?
Friends are posting that they don’t know where they will go if they need to evacuate. I don’t have a plan for myself at this point, and I really hope I will not need to.
I feel strangely numb.
One gratitude has struck me, though: When the weather was lovely, I got out and biked. It was what I wanted to do, even though I faced a familiar internal resistance.
Thinking about this reminds me of a life principle:
“What is possible right now, in this moment? Whatever it is, do that thing!”
This applies when conditions are “good”: optimize them! Do the very coolest thing you have access to in that moment. You don’t know how long that cool thing will be available to you as an option. It also applies in difficult or more limited situations, like right now: maybe I could pack an evacuation bag, just in case. Get some affairs in order. Organizing a few key things in my life is crucial in an emergency, but also helpful even if the emergency doesn’t come to pass.
I’m thinking ahead to my plan to bike around the country. In all likelihood, I will encounter many unexpected obstacles, including forest fires and/or other natural disasters. I will need to work with whatever is possible in any given moment, and accept whatever reality I encounter, with creativity and pragmatism.
What realities are you facing in this moment? What can you do with those conditions, in this moment, to best serve you or others?