Friday, January 13, 2017

Smoke Alarm, Avatar and Trump

I'm sorry, trees. I am so, so sorry. We do not honor you enough.

Tonight, after a long day, the fire department came to my neighbor's house across the street. When the fire department comes, it is a big deal.

Besides the noise of truck after truck - heavy things that reverberate through the homes nearby (apparently), there are the lights. Like the fires of hell, they flood over everything with strange, deep red brightness.

I had one foot in the bathtub as this began. I even had a candle lit.

I put on a robe and went downstairs - scared that, by some mistake, fire fighters were going to burst into our house. From the kitchen window I saw they were, in fact, responding to a call from our neighbor's house. I debated - annoyed - what to do.

After watching them begin to unroll the hose (even before assessing the situation, so I guess a matter of protocol? There were no signs of fire or smoke.) I went back upstairs. I watched for a little bit longer from the bathroom window and then got into the tub. And I took a bath.

Afterwards, I went downstairs to make soup. I've been feeling borderline sniffly the last couple days, and I have a propensity to absorb the chaos from the world around me into my physical self. So, soup. While doing this, I opened my MacBook and picked up where I had left off the other night in the movie Avatar. It was right before the human military-industrial invading force began firing on the sacred tree of the planet Pandora's indigenous Na'vi people. (Sorry, spoiler alert?)

The raw emotion on the (animated) characters' faces - screaming in anguish as this happens - always makes me cry. The mindless brutality and unfeeling evil (exemplified by actor Jeremy Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch) from the humans in the name of greed is as upsetting as it is transferrable to reality. I hug trees sometimes.

But then I thought about the fact that the (literally) brightest signal of something not being right in my neighborhood, i.e. emergency vehicles and crews at my neighbor's house, barely fazed me.

I don't know if it was the assumption that it was probably a false alarm, or that even if there were an emergency, the heroes of the DC Fire Department obviously would know what to do way better than me, but I took a bath, started cooking, and watching a movie all while red light blinked through my house. These emergency responders weren't going to interrupt my evening!

The trucks and vehicles all began to leave. It takes a while to roll a fire hose back up. I noticed a couple neighbors from other houses asking whether everything was okay. And I got mad at myself. I should have done that too...gotten dressed and walked outside to check on things, check on others. It should have come naturally to me.

It's this type of numbness to inherent instinct, to kindness and caring for our fellow souls, that leads to a (fictional or otherwise) place and time of willingness to ignore, oppress or ruin lives for imagined personal gain.

We are already hurting our earth, and we debate - we DEBATE - whether that is something to stop doing. Because the mission of science is to halt human progress by destroying industry and business...or, whatever.

Amidst this pensive moment and dark vision of humankind's acceptance of cruelty, embracing of ego, and ridiculing those who fight against disempowerment or displacement, could be something profound and fiery that is one week away from descending upon Washington.

I hope not. But I hope with vigilance.

May we look out for our neighbors. Also, may we avoid mistakenly setting off smoke alarms because when the fire department comes, it's a big deal.