Repairing the Road for the Journey Ahead
My commute has lent me quite a bit of time for musings as of late. A good chunk of my mornings and evenings are spent travelling I-80 going in and out of Tahoe for work and play. Typically, the trips are a breezy half hour and the idyllic scenery along the Truckee River lends itself gracefully to the background of my commute. This winter has, however, been the realest I have ever seen, so instead of setting myself on autopilot and admiring the drive I’ve been forced to pay closer attention to road conditions, drive slowly and with caution–eyes scanning the road looking for black ice, potholes and any potential hazards (mudslides, fallen boulders, and it wouldn’t be the high desert without some good ole tumbleweeds!), and generally expect some slow-downs.
Reflecting on the damage from the recent storm during these extended commutes, I couldn’t help but think about the legislative storm brewing in our nation’s capital. So much of the progressive social and environmental infrastructure built in recent years is quickly being ripped apart by an unpredictable and formidable storm of executive orders and house bills. I look around with my friends and family wondering if this is what it will be like for the next four years. How did it all become so different so fast? And what can we do about it? If we’re committed to these social, economic, and environmental policies, there has to be some way we can strive for them instead of feeling helpless, right?
Right. Fast forward to today and I am inspired, there is hope. I was reminded as I drove in through high winds, rain and snow that we had withstood the worst of the storm. There may be more coming, but we know how to handle it because we endured the last one. We mustered the strength to pull ourselves out and help our neighbors. It was only a season. Uncertain as the future of federal funding may be for a lot of the work we do in the name of climate adaptation, we still have our purpose. Just as Paul Hawkens quoted Martha Graham in one of my favorite environmental books, Blessed Unrest, “There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” I’m choosing to take the momentum from the opportunities for action to spark conversations with others. How do we stick together? How do we reach across the divides? How can we manifest the sustainable world that we envision for our future?
I-80 (though currently peppered with stray boulders and gushing waterfalls) is being worked on, slowly but surely. Boulders may have scarred the road, but the mighty soldiers from the Department of Transportation are moving them out of the way and re-paving, clearing a path. That’s how I see these political changes – they may impede our efforts to move forward, but to be the people that move cautiously and act quickly for the good of our fellow man? That’s what we are here to do, to repair the road for the journey ahead.