Saturday, March 12, 2011

When the Boundaries Shift

The sad and scary story from Japan is another of the periodic brutal reminders of the fine line between civilization and a very different life. We like optimism and the view that the coming decade will always be better than its predecessor. Life, however, gives few guarantees.

Few of us make preparations for disasters beyond purchasing health and life insurance. When we hear of families who store back-up supplies of food, the tendency is to acknowledge the wisdom of the practice in the same casual way we might acknowledge the wisdom of daily exercise and fiber. The Japan story, of course, cuts both ways since in many cases such preparation would have been worthless. You can't plan for everything, we reason, so we'll plan for as little as possible.

In recent conversations, however, I've noticed a slight shift in tone. The mockery that almost immediately surfaced whenever survival preparations were mentioned is no longer there. People are not at the point of digging shelters, of course, but the idea of some extra precautions is not as wild as it once seemed. What do you do if, due to nature or man, the boundaries of everyday life dramatically shift?


Kurt Harden said...

Well said, Michael. You don't need to dig a shelter but I learned a few years ago that a portable generator and several tanks of gas make a big difference. Storing some water and extra food is not "survivalist", it is common sense.


Mary Jo Asmus said...

Michael, in a small way, this is very close to me. We lost power for three days in February. When we lose power, we lose heat, stove, water, land line phone and internet. We were fairly well prepared with potable water and food, but learned a lesson to obtain and install a generator. It was darned cold up here in Michigan, even with a fireplace. This comparatively small event should help us to be better prepared in the future.

Michael Wade said...


You are absolutely correct!

Mary Jo,

When you go through an experience such as yours, it is a powerful reminder of how a few practical fall-back plans can make a huge difference.