Just in case

We will be receiving from the volunteer firefighters today, the evacuation plan, should it become necessary.

It’s terribly exciting. Not necessarily in a bad way. One of the things it’s forced me to think about is “what are the things I could not live without?” The answer is: “my family”, of course. And I know they will be safe.

Nonetheless, when we moved in here, we knew we were moving into a flood plain, and for that reason, I have always kept our photographs and keepsakes in watertight plastic bins. Many the time has been that I’ve said to His Nibs: “if anything ever happens, take this box and keep it with you”. Today, I moved that box up to our bedroom. I might have to then pack it in the van with our suitcases, bottled water, stupid cat, clothes, musical instruments (except the piano; those are tough to move), and important documents.

I began thinking today, after a stroll down to the river that’s swollen with adolescent lust to conquer, that we could easily replace pretty much everything in the house, if need be. I spent the evening cleaning out the back bedroom. Because I was concerned that the Things In There would be damaged? No. Because I hadn’t done it in a year. I threw out three garbage bags of crap, and came up with a donation pile that would choke a horse. Anybody want some books?

And then I started thinking: I’ll be taking my laptop if we have to evacuate. We’ll have our suitcases packed, with clothes and cuddlies and books. And our important documents are all at hand, so they’re already packed. I can throw the photos and keepsakes in a box, and pack the box in the van, and we’ll all become travelling minstrels for a time, and that will be Great Fun. I’m not so naiive to think that should “it” happen, the thing that nobody wants to name because naming a thing makes it real and gives it form…should that thing happen…and should our home get damaged…or, worse yet, should everything be washed downstream and end up somewhere in a farmer’s field, how would that feel?

I’ve read about survivors of disasters, and how they’ve lost “everything, just everything”.

I am naiive. I realise that. But I’ll still say it: it’s the chance to start over. To throw the dust from our hair like a mustang running at a full gallop and to create something new. No, I don’t wish it to happen. But just think: we can’t change what’s happened; we must always look forward to what’s yet to come. If my house was washed away, lock, stock, and barrel, we’d start over. The pipes would be in the right place, and there would be a laundry chute, and big windows, and a writing room, and…and we’d be homeless for a time, but we’d survive.

What does this say about me, that I can look the very real possibility of a disastrous flood in the face and say, ‘well, whatever happens, we’ll be looking forward to tomorrow, and not stressing about what can’t be changed’? I feel like it’s too pat. It’s too ….something. And not enough of something else.

On the other hand, I see myself wandering through the hallways, making the cutting-with-scissors motion with my hand, wondering where I put X, and realising that X is probably buried under topsoil from ten miles upstream in some farmer’s pasture ten miles downstream, and swearing because I needed it. But then, it’s just stuff, right? It’s just stuff.

Nonetheless, I don’t want to hear the sirens, or the klaxons, or whatever it is our town does to alert us that Something Bad Is Happening. I don’t want Something Bad to Happen. I love our home. Yet I still can’t get away from the knowledge that our true home is nestled within the gossamer silvery filaments that bind us, one to the other.

So that’s what’s happening here. We live in dangerous times.

cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.


  1. Stay safe, Ceno. A fresh start can be refreshing, but at the same time I hope your home doesn’t get destroyed. I do like books a lot, but at the same time I can’t see the point of you holding on to them during a flood just so I can pick through them later.

  2. Houses don’t makes homes. Carpets and dishes, microwaves and nick-nacks, photos and laptops, overstuffed pillows and micro-suede chairs, coasters and fireplace sets – they fill a home, but they aren’t a home.

    Family. Laughter. Love. That’s a home. That’s with you no matter where you are, as long as you are together. The rest is just window dressing.

    That said, I hope your house and possessions stay safe, I’m a fan of stuff. But I know I speak for everyone who knows you when we say we’re worried about you and your family – not your stuff.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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