Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The New Renaissance
We have been Preppers/Survivalist for a very long time. So long, in fact, that we no longer think of ourselves in terms of being Preppers or Surivalists. Instead, over the years we have shed our former lives and embraced a new Renaissance. We don't garden for the sake of preparedness, but for the sake of a better lifestyle. We don't make cheese, preserve food, hunt or keep bees so that we can survive the end of the world - what fun would that be? We do all of those things so that we can live a more fulfilling life today.
Twenty-five years ago, Sir Knight and I were a typical suburban family (well, perhaps not typical, but close anyway). We window shopped in crowded shopping malls, ate late breakfasts at trendy, upscale restaurants and hiked on the weekends because it was part of the Pacific Northwest lifestyle. We ate out three days a week, paid other people to care for our daughter and spent more time in traffic than we did at home. Ours was a "normal" middle class existence. We didn't think farther ahead than what we would eat for dinner and we actually thought that the model of vehicle we drove was important.
And then we had a huge Seattle-style wind storm, complete with pouring rain (what else was new), lightening (hitting the man-hole cover in front of our house) and a plugged gutter creating a deluge from our dining room ceiling. After Sir Knight climbed on the roof to un-plug the gutter (in the middle of an electrical storm!) and we got the dining room cleaned up, a huge pop, accompanied by sparks, sounded across the drive (a transformer had blown) and the street went dark.
As a firefighter, Sir Knight knew that he would be needed to help restore the city after the storm, but not wanting to leave Maid Elizabeth and I without transportation, we all piled into his huge 4-wheel drive pick-up to make the 8 mile drive (the back way) to his fire station so I could bring the truck home. Branches were scattered everywhere, making travel challenging for cars, however, Big Green drove right over all but the biggest impediments. Two miles from our home, a line of cars stopped in the middle of the road bringing our progress to a screeching halt. People littered the road, most on their cell phones, calling 911 to report a tree in the middle of the road. They were requesting immediate assistance so they could make it home to their families. Sir Knight got out of the truck, motioning for Maid Elizabeth and I to stay put, and made his way through the sea of people to get a closer look at the road block. As he approached the first car in line, Sir Knight searched in vain for the offending fallen tree, but rather than the monster Cedar that he expected, Sir Knight found two small saplings, no larger than 8 inches in diameter. Grabbing one end of a tree, Sir Knight quickly pulled it off the side of the road and then sauntered back for the other tree. That was it! All that was needed was for someone to pick up the trees and move them!
We spent a week with no power. Sir Knight stayed at the fire station, going from one house to the next, making sure that the occupants were managing and reminding people not to heat or cook with their propane bbq's in the house - and if they were running generators, making sure they were doing so safely. Maid Elizabeth and I dusted off the oil lamps, trimmed the wicks and spent the week playing games and reading books by the cozy glow of the fireplace. We cooked on our bbq (outside), lugged all of our perishables to the back porch to keep cool and basically, pretended to be Laura and Ma from Little House on the Prairie. Oh, we had fun!
After our storm wake-up call, Sir Knight and I began to think of other possible grid-down scenarios. We mapped a way out of Seattle through an abandon train tunnel and made sure that we always had full tanks of fuel. When Sir Knight's company had a job opening in the Redoubt, we jumped at the chance to make the move.
At first, we were preppers. We made sure we had extra water on hand and a bit of extra food - just in case. Soon, we were buying food in bulk, stocking up on reloading components and packing "bug-out" bags. From there, we progressed to communication systems, water purification and fuel storage. By now we had become full-fledged survivalists. And then, little by little, our focus began to change.
Once, we had relied on stocking enough food for extended dry periods, now, we wanted to know how to grow our own food, how to save seeds and how to propagate all manner of growing things. Rather than storing canned cheese, we wanted to milk our own cow and make our own cheese. Rather than sending our children off to be educated by someone else, we wanted the opportunity to teach them the things that we believed were important. We wanted to build our own buildings, reload our own ammunition, make our own wine and be our own doctors. We wanted to have babies at home, make our own clothes and create our own businesses. We became unsatisfied with merely gathering, we wanted to be part of the process of creating.
Although we are highly prepared for most any eventuality, we no longer consider ourselves "Preppers" - rather, we are the New Renaissance. We are more interested in living a full and abundant life than we are merely surviving the End of the World as we Know it.
The term Prepper and Survivalist are no longer adequate to describe who we are - we are "The New Renaissance".