What Would You Do?

Our normally quiet little town has had quite a summer so far. We had a rogue storm at the end of June that flattened trees and sent a variety of odds and ends airborne. That was soon followed by a forest fire on the edge of the community where many residents were put on an evacuation alert and told to pack their important belongings and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but the mountainside still smolders.

These events certainly got many of us thinking about what we’d do, and what we’d pack, if given the luxury of an hour, a few hours, or more, to prepare to flee.

I firmly believe that our sense of home is something we carry within us; something nurtured by our families, friends and life experiences. However, that said, I’m the first to admit that part of my emotional and physical well-being is directly linked to my environment and the physical components that I have gathered, created and absorbed over my lifetime. I enjoy my goods and chattels and my predictable little routines … dull to some, but ‘home’ to me. Of course, I could exist without all of it … but, if I had to make choices under pressure, what would I do?

I am a lousy packer … whether I’m off for a weekend or a long holiday, I agonise over the process … packing, unpacking, re-packing and, inevitably, regretting later that item I took out at the last minute and questioning the item I replaced it with. So, knowing this about myself, I cannot begin to imagine what sort of packing choices I’d make under duress!

Time to make a list … whenever I’m unsettled about anything, that is what I do. Once something that’s nagging me is spewed out onto a piece of paper, I can free up my limited brain space for other things and, if push came to shove, all I’d have to do is follow my list.

Armed with a pen and note pad (or, for the more modern amongst you, it could be a tablet or other device), I went from room to room and listed those items I would consider essential (if there was time) and, in a second column, those items I’d like to include (if there was more time). The reason I went room by room was so that I would know, when confused or in a bit of a panic, where each essential item was kept. This would make it much easier to flit through the house picking up the items on the list without having to think too much or waste precious time trying to locate them.

When I looked at the finished list, it was considerably shorter than I had imagined it would be and I patted myself on the back for that. I also realized that my list-building exercise had, in some way, allowed me to ‘rehearse’ abandoning most of my stuff. It was really quite liberating to discover this. I was able to find the place inside me that gave me this pocket of insight and peace and I ‘bookmarked’ it so I can return there if, heaven forbid, I ever have to.

Perhaps, at the end of the day, that’s what ‘home’ really is … a safe little place inside us from where we can observe ourselves handling whatever comes our way.

Curious to know what made my list? Well, Edward did for one … (above)

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