I am going to fess up here (because I know I seem so normal and well-adjusted all the time) and let you all know that I am having some serious apocalypse anxiety these days. I think it’s been building steadily for a couple of weeks – starting with a strong compulsion to make all the things in the studio – and as of yesterday I am officially checking in on my food stores and thinking about getting the cistern piping fixed in case we need to draw water off it sometime in the near future. Right. So now would be the time to remind myself that I am not a prepper and pull myself back a little from the edge. What the hell is going on?
I suspect it is something like the effect of a ferry trip that Brian and I took on Friday on our way back home. It was a pretty unremarkable ride – Vancouver to Nanaimo – the ship was about 3/4s full and left approximately on time….. But as we sat on the forward deck, we noticed that there was an awful lot of movement around us on that particular day. Overwhelmingly so. Everyone around us seemed slightly agitated, the children’s playroom was full of crying toddlers, and no one was really settled into their seats for the whole ride. Without really noticing why at first, we felt stressed by the other passengers, commenting to each other as we returned to the car that it all seemed like *too much*. It was only on some reflection that we realized that the ferry had been bucking and bouncing quite a bit on the ride, as it was a windy and choppy day, and while we didn’t feel phased by the boat’s movement, it was likely that the amplified feeling on the ferry were the result of the general unease being shared by many of the passengers.
It is probably also much like a day on the float plane three months ago when a nervous passenger got on and started loudly proclaiming that he was nervous and scared and sure the plane was going to crash. He continued this patter throughout the entire twenty minute ride (on a beautiful and sunny morning, with no real turbulence to speak of) until we touched down in Vancouver, at which point I was thoroughly annoyed. I pride myself on being an unflappable flier on small planes – I have flown to all corners of this province in small craft, and I don’t worry, get nervous, or ever get sick – but on this particular day I found myself stressed with the possibility of disaster at every bounce and bump.
Which is to say – I am living in a world in which the panic levels have risen with the election down south, the wars in the middle east, and the potential for war everywhere else; where the hands on the doomsday clock have been moved thirty seconds closer to midnight; where my social media feed screams of the end every single day. I have watched old anarchist friends recently become anti-Muslim racists, I am aware that my old political models no longer work. And as it turns out, no matter the trauma of my past life life, no matter the balm of my present security or meditation practice – I am not immune to the transmission of fear. I am not outside of the organism that wants to fight or flee.
So here I am on an island in the dark sea. My power went out last night after I wrote most of this post – so this morning’s breakfast and coffee were cooked in the silence of the forest while the woodstove creaks and groans with dry arbutus wood. My computer battery is still up which means I’ve got another couple of hours to wait out Hydro and the restoration of power. I remind myself that even if we are preparing for a big ecological/political/economic showdown, there is no need for the panic part of things – my island is a fortress and I’m getting lots of practice at living without power. I’m getting lots of practice at meditating in darkness as the dawn breaks through.