Survival of the Fittest — How to “Hold your Own”

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Books always broaden your horizons. I just finished a fiction novel centered in Alaska, a place I’ve always wanted to visit. In fact, it’s on my “bucket list.” Alaska is one of the last great frontiers where many people still live off the land. My reading “wish list” when I was a young woman always held a few with an Alaskan theme.

One such book was a frontier story that included details about the early settlers and their interactions with the Indians and Eskimos. I’ve forgotten the title, but one story intrigued me because I had my own baby to care for at the time.

The natives used moss for diapers. The green algae was soft, absorbent and good for the skin. There were no diaper rashes to cope with and no diapers to wash. They also washed their infant’s faces with the bright green moss.

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“Sand Crane Dreams”  24 x 20 Oil on canvas

The early pioneers learned many things from the natives: how to survive, what foods to eat, what plants had medicinal powers, etc. I doubt the settlers would have endured the harsh winters without their help and knowledge. These stories gave me inspiration and enthusiasm for our own family camping trips.

Now I’m reading “Cyber Storm” by Matthew Mather. What happens when society becomes so dependent on technology and the internet that they can’t manage without it? When the grid is destroyed and the internet is hacked by an unknown enemy, the U.S. and the world finds out.

This gripping tale will soon be in movie theaters. The book reminds me of a time when my then husband and I flew off to Minnesota to look for housing leaving our 17-year-old daughter, Holly, in charge of two younger children and our Kansas City home in the middle of winter. Holly was a real trooper.

While we were gone, the power went out for several days. She and the children moved into the family room where a fireplace roared and slept in their sleeping bags. Because of our camping experiences, she was able to help the kids fend for themselves. They ate cold foods and used a manual can opener. She didn’t tell us what was going on because she didn’t want to worry us. Some of our neighbors also pitched in to make sure the children were all right. You know who your friends are in times like those.

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“Robin Hood” 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

Knowing how to be prepared and what to do is important. During “Cyber Storm” the characters worked with their neighbors to survive. Chuck the highly anxiety driven neighbor is the only one who is prepared. He tells the people in their New York City warehouse: “In survival situations, the order of importance is:

  1. Warmth/protection
  2. Water
  3. Food

“You can survive weeks or months without food, but only two days without water, and you’ll freeze to death in just a few hours. We need to stay warm and find a gallon of water per day per person.”

During hurricane season in Florida, our goal is to stay cool. If the power goes out, staying cool and hydrated is critical. People can suffer from heat stroke or dehydration in a short period of time.

I was amazed at how quickly the grocery stores empty out when a hurricane alert is given. Water goes first, then canned meats. If you haven’t prepared somewhat beforehand, you can be SOL. Sometimes you only need to prepare for a short period of time. If you’re smart, you’ll always have at least two weeks of extra food and water in your pantry. Even an illness can make it almost impossible to get to a store.

During the summer, many of our neighbors leave for northern climes. Our neighborhood becomes almost like a ghost town. Knowing I have a few extra cans of food on hand and a case of water gives me comfort.

Egrets and Mangroves

“Egrets and Mangroves” 14 x 18 acrylic on canvas

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