Here is RantWoman's take on cancelling / not cancelling the fall 2012 session of Pacific NW Quarterly Meeting. The blog entry below began life as an email to Friends in key roles about planning Quarterly Meeting. The venue where Quarterly Meeting occurs is in the middle of wildfire country. There are no actual fires for miles and miles in any direction, but there is smoke. Conditions are very dry and at one point the weather forecast mentioned a chance of lightning.
Various elements of the ultimate decisionmaking process got anonymized because RantWoman's non-Quaker blog is read by some of her disaster preparedness groupies; other elements got added or expanded.
Then Wednesday, Friend Newly in Responsible Role texted RantWoman to see whether RantWoman wanted a ride to midweek Meeting for Worship. Friend Newly In... lives very near RantWoman and RantWoman has ridden several places with Friend Newly in Responsible Role. RantWoman deeply appreciates the ministry of car ride conversations.
Friend Newly in Responsible Role is a mom. She reported that she personally is even less in tune with news streams than RantWoman but that she had been concerned for a few days. RantWoman is aware of another mom whose suggestions about cancelling had not quite been heard over the week's emails before Quarterly Meeting. RantWoman said a few words of vague invitation and Friend Newly in Responsible Role immediately offered to share her thinking.
As a mom, she realized she was going to want either to leave son at home or to explain to him why they were travelling to a dangerous area. And besides a bunch of adults she loves including RantWoman and two other specific adult Friends with health problems should not go there either. At this point RantWoman bristled: RantWoman and the two other Friends named are adults able to make our own decisions, good or bad. We all chose to go and did not regret it. RantWoman did not say in the moment but thought about later RantMom's past as a farm girl. in some circumstances, the RantParents would have said, we KNOW it's dangerous so you WILL modify your behavior as follows. But RantMom is not the mom in charge here;
Friend Newly in Responsible role was clear that it was her responsibility to put her foot down. She also reported that afterward multiple parents thanked her for articulating what they were thinking but hesitating to speak about.
1. Is grateful to have gone to her scheduled meetings, including the shortest plenary Business Meeting she has ever seen.
2. Wonders whether recommendations to cancel could have come together
by Wednesday instead of the middle of Friday afternoon.
3. Recognizes that apparently the smoke from all the distant fires was getting worse on Friday than previously.
4. Is holding our venue and the people connected with the planning in the Light as Friends think more about this.
5. Does not regret attending herself even though she came home with nostrils and hair and head full of smoke.
RantWoman requests that Friends hold us all in the Light, especially people who live full time in the zones most affected by wildfires.