July 3rd, 2021

on the res

like ash on the wind

After the heat wave ended, the fires came.

The air has been thick with smoke for three days, and it doesn't look like it will let up till next week.

A few days ago we had a storm cloud go over, and i saw lightning strikes start fires just a couple miles from my place. Where i live is probably pretty safe, but the fires are a real worry for people living on the edge of town. Same night the lightning came, 200 people got evacuation orders in a suburb up the road. The government is advising everyone in the region to have a go bag ready.

My regular day pack i take everywhere is sort of a mini go bag, for biking and hikes. It's got a head lamp, power bank, energy bars, multitool. I always carry a liter bottle of water for every trip further than to the grocery store. Two liters on hot days.

I've been thinking about go bags and survival gear in general as i plan for this bike ride. I have read way too many fucking articles about tarps vs bivys vs tents, and sleeping bags vs quilts, and down vs synthetic, and all of that stuff. It's exhausting, and i've realized i don't really care. I just want gear that will keep me alive in a pinch, and stuff i can realistically carry under my own power.

Reading these endless articles and threads, i've noticed that hobbyists are all the same. Doesn't matter if they are outdoorsmen, doesn't matter if they are gamers, doesn't matter if they are petrolheads, doesn't matter if they are musos... People spend a fantastic amount of time and money on their hobbies, way more than i ever care to.

I almost kind of wish i could get that excited about something. I definitely dipped my toe in a few times. But i never get in too deep, because once it goes past the casual stage, it feels like too much of an investment. The gear gets too expensive. The people get too cliquey. There is too much arguing over shit that really doesn't fucking matter.

This seems to be my personality. I don't like to get involved, i don't like to get stuck in one place, or too much into one thing. Sometimes i think it makes me a boring person, or someone who doesn't really have much to be passionate about.

But i am passionate about some things. Politics, and specifically the politics around immigration, colonization, land ownership and freedom of movement in general. I care about the future of our species, and i care about how my ecological footprint might impact that.

I like other things too - electronic music and science fiction and spicy food and linguistics and all the other stuff on my LJ interests page. But do i like any of them enough to invest thousands? Do i ever put my neck on the line? Do i care that much about anything?

I mean, maybe, not really. If the house was burning down, what would i take? My passport, my phone, my computer. That's it. I need my ticket to travel, and i need a tool to connect with the people and information in the next place. The rest doesn't matter. Water. Sleeping bag, i suppose. Just don't die.

But if i do die, i won't leave anything behind. People will say i just floated around and disappeared, not like a dandelion seed that makes a new flower, but like a flake of wildfire ash that just melts back into the dirt, as if i was never there at all.

This post sounds kind of grim, but i'm actually in an alright mood. Just in a bit of a holding pattern over the next few days till the smoke clears and my panniers arrive so i can more pragmatically plan out my setup.