Look Alive

29 August 2011

10 More P(e)aces

The recent East Coast storm activity, like any other move of the Lord's hands, stirred my creativity and curiosity a bit. My first earthquake and hurricane experience, however mild relative to the disasters my global family has endured, inspired the following list of ten things to do in times like these, which is also the name of one of my favorite classic psalms.

1. Know and align with sources of goodness. Give honor to the Almighty for what Life you've had thus far and the ability to endure to even the last millisecond that you do, whenever that is. Locate fresh water. Know where your people are. Know alternate routes to and from your key destinations. Know your center and maintain it.

2. Pay attention to the constructive suggestions and tips given by wise community members, insurance companies and public safety organizations such as stocking up on water, flashlights & batteries and edible non-perishables (plus an opener). If possible, avoid those with damaged packaging to reduce the likelihood of poisonous contents; fueling your vehicle, securing your most important documents, maintaining some cash for purchases when credit card machines and all other electrical power is down and possessing a useful skill you can barter and assist others with.

3. Don't assume you know which way the winds will blow! A calm evening with the power to submit an assignment plus rain and breezes gentle enough to lull me into a sweet sleep on the couch made me somewhat confident that the worst had passed. This leads me to...

4. When you must sleep, try not to do it too close to wall-mounted hardware.
Exhibit A was only a yard away from my head, which happened to feature a dream that an unknown mate and I couldn't watch a certain movie at that time. He insisted we'd catch it soon and held me close as we crossed the street. I jumped awake just as the TV fell from the wall. Go figure! >  

5. When the rain does come, shower! I'm sure the art of bathing wasn't always performed in fancy French tubs. If the wind speeds aren't blowing your or your auto's body against your will, why not bask in Heaven's downpour? Visibility for any indecent public exposure charges shouldn't be an issue with no streetlights but the moon and stars. Find a discreet place if possible (as destructiveness is unfortunately also very human behavior, especially in a climate of compromise) and enjoy the dance! Unless your preferred type of shower is a non-option due to utility problems, soap is optional.

6. If you can, help somebody! Volunteers are screened and accepted year-round at local fire departments. Even if you choose not to serve on a larger community level, you can learn first aid or just be willing to show love to your neighbor. A kind word, bottle of water and helping hand may be just what's needed to temper the torrent outside and dispel any lies "he" or "she"-who-let-the-devil-use-them may have said about those you could truly stand to know better for yourself.

7. Should your electric power cease, revisit #1. Take a moment to consider what your darkness holds that you do and don't want to come to the light. Has it been forever since you spoke to that family member on your mind now? Would you be snacking unnecessarily if you didn't know better than to keep the fridge and freezer shut for as long as possible? Use the still silence to define what's truly important.

8. Every environment holds immediate weapons and blessings -- choose wisely. Broken glass can cut and offer much-needed reflections. Fallen branches can yield damage and act as fire material. Realizing the charcoal was done only after seasoning the one package of meat set out to defrost earlier maintained my beat to a quest for twigs, brush and old mail. Of course, the surrounding area was too damp to contribute to a fire sustainable enough to cook at length, but I was given insight as to the amount of dye some of those advertising circulars pack. Ooh... bright green! I read somewhere that one never has to leave home for art and, in harmless spirit, I agree.

9. Be OK with letting go. Yes, control freaks, manipulators, operatives and any of us folk accustomed to modern accoutrements, there are things beyond y/our control! Apple products at Nature's mercy or even applesauce left too long will sour alike and be near-impossible to use. Things may resume full function or not. Pumps are so pretty, but not always practical. Labels aren't as worthy as full ladles when hunger looms. Get in and go on as you are able.

10. In the end... singers Jewel would say that "only kindness matters", Brian McKnight would encourage us "to start back at One" and Eric Benet would croon that "you won't break 'cause you're learning how to bend / and the hand of God will guide you". Grateful as I was to learn that a cousin some towns over had power after the day-and-a-half deluge, I was even happier to see that other motorists in the deepening dusk allowed cool heads, common sense and courtesy to serve as our traffic lights. Simple pleasures! There but for the grace of God went I and dinner was good. Amen.