Panic is defined as: sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior.
I don’t know much about anything. “I’m good with dogs”…but still I only boast the basics in a world full of “experts”. I believe this philosophy and my undeniable loyalty to it keeps my humble heart in check.
In times of panic anyone who feels the pain and fear of others can suffer incredibly. I’ve spent my adult life consuming the feelings of people around me foolheartedly believing that if I take on their pain, I can ease it. I’ve learned that sharing their pain does not ease it…but rather increases it until everyone in the vicinity can almost literally grab a handful of anxiety out of the air and keep it safe in their pocket until it is needed in a wild show of dramatics should they choose to increase their spotlight.
My philosophy in being good and proud of individual talents instead of boasting a general expertise in all things is closely followed by my dedication to only worry about things I can control. I achieve this with distraction. Achieve is the wrong word…it signifies success. I am far from successful in this pursuit. I am content to not be good at pushing away all worry and to only be good at the effort of it. We cannot control wildfire. What I can control…my feelings.
Wildly unthinking behaviour comes from uncontrolled thoughts. We have the power to control our thoughts. Our thoughts control our feelings. We can choose to worry, elicit fear or simply swim in the fiery chaos to be the hero, the director, the martyr or the victim. In our human goals to be any of these things…we are simply being selfish. I do not claim to be protected from selfishness…on the contrary…I work very hard to keep this double-edged sword at bay.
I feel safe here. Surrounded by devastating wildfires, palpable fear and unchecked anxiety…I feel safe simply because I selfishly choose to be. In choosing this edge of the sword I protect my heart and in doing so, I allow it to open to the people who need me to “do”. They don’t need me to feel their fear, they need me to protect their animals.
Bakers Acres has taken in (at last count) 23 cats, 10 dogs, 18 rabbits, 70+chickens, 1 turkey, and 8 sheep who are quickly lambing and becoming 10, 11, 12… from evacuees and I am humbled that they trust me with their sole incomes, their precious family members and their last remaining “possession”. I do this around my business. In order to logistically help them, I must continue to work. I cannot give the displaced families the kennel rooms that pay the bills. For this I feel like I’m going to burn in hell. When a train of vehicles arrive in my driveway loaded with animals and belongings with nowhere to go, I can (as of today) only offer paid kennel space. I write that with my teeth gritted and tension in my arms as my heart cracks. It simply is what it is. I cannot change that. I’ve requested money from RDBN to close the business and take in more animals but there is simply no funding for pets.
Same as other local business owners who are serving coffee with smiles on their faces to exhausted, filthy firefighters…knowing that their short-staffed cafes will need endless cleaning to accept the officials in suits behind these hard-working people. Their homes are burning as they smile and heat the water for another strong coffee order, their dedicated employees are at home wetting their roofs with well water and garden hoses in a desperate effort to save their homes…and we can only do what we can do, so we smile.
Here is the part where I ask for donations. The selfish part. The part where I plead for monetary donations so I selfishly do not have to watch anymore desperate people shrink away from another “no”. The panic behind their eyes haunt me. As they turn away from me and turn to each other their conversations become heartbreaking plans to give up their pets that they can not take care of in the back seats of their cars amidst the raging, unstoppable heat.
Donations of cash can be made to Tech North Solutions in Burns Lake. Thankyou to Tech North for their time in accepting, organising and arranging supplies/donations as well as their time in physically coming to care for the animals on the grounds. Etransfer donations can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org, please add “Fire” in the comments. Thank-you to Karen Baker (My Mom:)) for accepting and organising emails/correspondence and donations as well as physically coming to delegate, clean, handy-man and “go to” for anything the farm needs. She does this despite her home being on vigilant evacuation alert.
I look to others to be my heroes. I focus on being “good with dogs”, knowing what is in my control and channeling my thoughts so that I can continue to support those that need Bakers Acres, in any way I can.