This afternoon, I have spent a great deal of time thawing out a frozen water pipe. I have also spent a lot of time today scooping, a quarter cup at a time, rusty water out of my furnace’s condensation tray. The the arctic temperatures have frozen my drainage pipe. These are my issues at my own home and I accept full responsibility for them. I also accept responsibility for my ill-prepared ways.
However, today has also seen me dealing with a great deal of anxiety. Not the type of anxiety that comes from no where and blinds you with false outcomes to unlikely realities, but the kind of anxieties that come with the local water company telling you that you are going to run out of water because they do not have adequate pumps to deal with the cold. The kind of anxiety that comes with a warning that you may lose power because the power company is struggling with capacity. The kind of anxiety that leaves you wondering if your child will be cold tonight again, if your pipes will freeze again, and how you’re going to bathe without running water again. Flushing, I have covered with the rusty furnace water.
In another post, I mentioned that I have spent a combined total of five days without water and 32 days without power since moving here 4 years ago. After every instance, I feel a little more resourceful than I did the last time. I’ve learned to save furnace water for flushing, strain and boil creek water for doing dishes, collect candles and firewood, and amuse a preschooler without lights.
Time between instances dulls the rage and helplessness and I fall in love with the beauty here all over again. Until…..it happens again. Then, like today, I think to myself that I must be insane to live here, to tolerate this, and to subject my family to these crazy instabilities. It’s like a vicious cycle. Like a bad relationship. Like living on a pendulum that swings from STAY to LEAVE. LEAVE to STAY. STAY to LEAVE.
Over the years, people have said to me, “Why don’t you just move?” Would you leave your almost mortgage free house? Would you leave somewhere you loved? Your family?
Sadly, I fear that it is coming to leaving. I am tired. I am tired in my soul. I am tired of being resourceful. I am tired of not being able to count on any of my public services. I am tired of the abusive and corrupt politicians. I am tired of the blind-eye turned to industry pollution. I’m tired of the general disregard for life, and I’m tired of the acceptance of the status quo.
I am not insensitive to my fellow West Virginians who normally, how sad to say, do not have clean water or who live in blasting fallout zones. I also know that a lot of my neighbors in Charleston are going through a terrible time right now. If I were in their shoes, I would not be using the water either. There has been too little consistent information and I smelled the river myself on day number 9 of the water crisis. I am furious right along side them and I’m worried about them, too. I had planned to move to Charleston in a couple of years. I honestly have to say that, for now, I’ve tossed this plan out the window.
I am sure that this weekend’s warm up will have me out with my camera and it will bring that everything’s alright feeling again. A feeling that does not last as long as it used to last. The optimist in me, the lover of West Virginia in me, is being snuffed out like a candle in an age old ritual of exodus. It fills me with such sadness I cannot describe other than to say I am simply tired.