Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Photo courtesy Flickr

In his discussion of the massive sculptures on Easter Island, Peter Freuchen says that the carrying capacity of its sixty-nine square miles was taxed to the limit. Midnight raids between groups were common, and people slept in caves on their stomachs with their knees tucked under them so that they could spring into action should aggressors turn up in the night.

The emergency preparedness measures recommended by local authorities are little different from good Easter Island practice, though I’m perfectly happy to sleep on my side. Finessing the balance between anxiety and prudent preparation for known emergencies goes with domestic territory. 

The tighter I wind the strings of emergency preparedness, the more smoothly the household runs and the less it costs to manage day to day life support. A favorite cousin and I made the same discovery when our nests emptied: the closer we live to our dorm days, the happier and more productive our lives have become. Henry Thoreau muttered about the ordinary citizen pushing his barn ahead of him down the road of life. I still have the barn, but it’s fairly featherweight and quite low maintenance, now.


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