Fires in Our Forests and Hearts


For the past week the air quality here has been really bad due to the wildfire smoke. Also this week are nationwide demonstrations regarding the treatment of prisoners. Demonstrations that, historically, Washington state prisoners do not participate in.

Granted, there are some individuals (like myself) who will fast for a day or two in solidarity or take some other similarly small action.

I’ve been accused of magical thinking, not for what I think will be, but for how I feel different events are connected.

Elsewhere, the hearts of the oppressed burn with passion. In Washington they still slumber and thus are cold. Yet, the air itself burns.

Intellectually I know these things have nothing to do with each other. Emotionally, my perception is far more poetic.

The air burns and myself, along with my fellow imprisoned people sit in our cells and do nothing. A sign in the hallway next to where the callouts are posted says that anyone who has trouble breathing should go to medical. I can’t breathe the smoke, so I went… and they did nothing for me. So I went again. And they did nothing. Finally one of the nurses relented and told me to go to sick call a third time and he gave me a filter mask.

Now I can breathe, but this does nothing for anyone else. Thus far I am the only one I see with a filtration mask. I have had plenty of people ask me where I got it. I told them to bug medical and stay on it. Yet… I’m still the only one with a mask.

The yard is closed, we are all locked inside, so why do I need a mask? Because, there are no filters on the air that the AC units is pumping into the unit. I look down the tier and can see the smoke in the air. If the smoke is just as bad inside why keep us indoors?

Because while the air burns here hearts burn elsewhere.

While I have no proof of this rationale, it feels accurate. I have learned to trust feelings like this. They’ve kept me safe in more than one deadly situation.

How do I explain something illogical and nonlinear like emotional-intuitive reasoning through the linear format of written language? I don’t know. What I do know is that if I adhered strictly to a logical thinking process I would have a life devoid of purpose, but since I do not just think about life, I feel about it I can envision a world I want to live in and having seen it, believe it is possible.

The acorn grows for the oak it has/will become.

I fast in solidarity with those who participate in the prison actions across the country today, and with those who have participated in that future Washington currently seen only by a small minority.

The air burns for the future hearts it will ignite.


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