Rough Night in the Neighborhood
I began writing this post this morning in my journal, sitting on a bench in my neighborhood, overlooking the activity surrounding a condominium charred by fire last night. Four people were sent to the hospital, and two died there.
A blessing of living in the downtown area of a city is that civic services, such as the fire department and hospitals, are very close.
I am in awe of the rapid response of our fire department, EMTs and police department.
The major change in water pressure, caused by the entire fire department working on site, activated my building’s alarm system. Not knowing the extent of the situation , and having just seen several fire trucks careening down the street, we evacuated.
My cat Olivier has been through at least four or five fire alarms since he came home from the shelter nearly two years ago.
We keep his carrier on hand, because I would do anything to save him in the event of a disaster.
If you are a pet guardian, I’m sure you feel the same.
Reality Setting In
Realizing that it wasn’t the far side of our building, or the neighboring gas station, that was on fire, my little family (husband, cat safely in his carrier, myself) decided to take a walk around the block to get away from the sound of continually passing sirens.
As we cornered an apartment building, we were met with the sight of flames and massive amounts of smoke across the street.
There were so many flashing lights, and the road was blocked off by all of the emergency response vehicles.
Someone from a window above was shouting down to us for details because they could smell smoke, but couldn’t see anything.
We considered that it could have been us. We ached for our neighbors.
In Buddhism, it is taught that the nature of our reality is impermanence. That we are of the nature to lose everything and everyone we love. The only thing we own are our actions.
So let us love. Love is our legacy.
But we have to act.
Embrace your fears, your desires, your family (two and four-legged, winged, finned, etc.), your enemy.
What shall your legacy of action be?
We were outside for a long time last night. For Olivier, it was more time spent outside than he had in his entire life.
Frequently, I would unzip the top of his carrier partway to check on him.
He would look up at me with so much love, and trust. But, also confusion. He knew this was not business as usual.
Among other things, this night made me contemplate the sacred privilege of caring for an animal.
They are like angels, because they are constantly connected to Source.
Animals draw us out of ourselves. Expand our circle of compassion. Help us to cultivate empathy.
They teach us about instinct and unconditional love.
Yet, they are so sensitive. So vulnerable.
To care for them is a sacred practice.
We must also consider how we could help them if the worst happened.
Disaster Preparedness for Animals
Here are some links that explain how to create disaster preparedness kits for animals, and what to keep in mind. We must be prepared, but we have to prepare for them, too.
Be safe, everyone.
Sending so much love,