Another storm is moving into the high country of western New Mexico. I sit at my desk and watch the winds rising and shaking the stiff branches of the pinyon pines and swaying in the softer branches of the tall junipers that shelter the bird feeders and the many birds who come to snack and then scold the dog as he lies on the patio soaking in the sun.
They say this will be a rain storm rather than snow. The area needs all the moisture it can get – my area, along with almost 18% of the state, is in severe drought, even after all the rain.
Living well away from paved roads, I need to plan for the days when the roads will be muddy and driving should be avoided, if possible. So I spend an hour to pick up my mail and then supplies at the small organic market that has opened in the past year – it’s a gift to a community that has to drive 45 minutes to the closest larger grocery store.
Since I’m new to the area, I ask the people I meet at the post office or the store or the local cafe – what’s the weather going to be like next month … in the spring … this coming summer? They shake their heads and shrug, ‘who knows, anymore?” is the usual answer.
Like most people living in rural areas, even those of us who are not ranchers or farmers are still aware of the weather and how it impacts our daily lives. The impact is deeper than needing to bring an umbrella in case it rains on our way to the subway or drive a bit slower due to traffic in the rain.
Many need to stock up on firewood for the woodstove, others may need to set out sandbags around low-lying buildings, and others may need to park their cars or trucks at the end of the driveway … or the end of the road … and be prepared to walk in mud boots because the muddy roads could catch and hold that vehicle til it dries up again.
This isn’t the life for everyone, although it was at one point in our history, and may be again. I am most comfortable here, most in my skin and authentic here – and I am learning to be competent here in knowing the skills of how to take care of myself, my home, my community.
I see the clouds gathering in the skies above me and down across the valley below and I feel the silence gathering also until it breaks with the storm.
I see similar clouds gathering around the country and around the world. The storms seem to be raging out of control. No matter the realm – environment, economics, health, housing, race, religions – it all comes down to politics in the end. Politics in its root meaning – the business of the citizens. While most of us are citizens of one country or another, while some of us are without a country, we are all citizens — inhabitants — of the Earth.
What we need most in a storm is shelter, warmth, and safety. Shelter, not from the elements but from the evil that walks the earth today. Evil, not in the sense of a negative deity that is in opposition to a positive deity, but evil in terms of an attitude that is against Life and the joy they take in destruction – of the world, of people, of experiences.
We need the warmth of our companions and our communities and that’s where we also find safety. We can’t do this alone. We can’t do this by fighting against this or that or them. We can only do this together. Like a small rural community, it doesn’t matter if you agree with the politics of your neighbor, when they’re stuck in the mud, you grab your chain and jump into your pickup and pull them out. You know they’ll do the same for you another day.
The storms are rising and it can be frightening; however, I know that in the aftermath, the wind has swept away everything that isn’t grounded in the earth. The rains have washed things down and in the sun, it all sparkles.
Metaphors can only take us so far … but they can help on the journey from the darkness into the light. So take heart – we can’t heal what we can’t see – even if it’s ugly for a while.
Bright blessings, Emma~Deva