The end of the road is flooded this morning. Though the road appears flat, its slight slope offers several feet before the water could reach my door. Yet, I catch myself beginning a mental list, just in case.
I should set up the cat carrier so I can just grab it if necessary; prepare a small backpack with food for the cat and dog and the very few items I’d want to salvage; move my art supplies higher on the shelves… and what if the shelves tumble over?… and where would I go?
In this structured world, as prepared as we are, nature can still remind us that structure does not ensure stability. We know this, of course. We hear it on the news all the time, but that is not first hand experience.
Our Cartesian environment provides an illusion of constancy. It expands from the perfectly aligned walls of our homes into the profiles of every nearby home, the deliberate curve of the road, the landscaping and the routines we repeat within this environment each day.
Losing something, or everything, to natural forces is not part of the routine, but it is part of the trial and error process that nudges us to think of new ways of building, and new ways of overcoming. It is also part of the process that leads us to realize, sometimes with a great sense of shock, that no insurance and no amount of preparing is necessary for our sense of community to surface and restore our faith in humanity.
As our homes and our things are an expression of individual dreams, our compassion and perseverance are an expression of our connection with shared dreams of comfort and self-realization. As frazzled as we may become in the midst of our daily routines, this sense of connection remains. It is why we instinctively seek community. Even the isolated home on a hill feels like home because of the community that surrounds it.
An hour has passed and the water has begun the slow movement away from town and back to its bed. We will forget. Forgetting is part of the inner structure that makes us resilient.