It has been one of my strong interests for a number of years now, and so it makes sense that it comes up again and again – after all, I do seek out information on the subject. Really, not just information, but… everything I can find.
Pictures, books, documentaries, movies… they are some of my all time favourite ways to pass the time; to make me think.
I love to be inspired, and nothing inspires me quite like stories of people who… can.
There is a person in my church who draws comic like pictures based on the sermons each week, and they share them online with the rest of them. The last one I saw was about two different ways of ‘carrying your cross;’ as in, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
They entitled this picture “the tale of two crosses” or something like that. There was one person, carrying what appeared to be a heavy wooden cross up a hill. The other person was driving an RV filled with lots of ‘stuff.’
I could understand the point – much like my pastor says, “It is dangerous to live (where we live),” because things are easy, and we get… complacent or something. Like the saying, “you don’t know God is all you need until God is all you have.”
In a way I agree with that, only for me, life is more like a battleground than a vacation – though I live in a place where everyone seems to be experiencing life here as if it were some sort of tourist destination. I suppose my experience is much like a soldier returning from particularly brutal experiences at war, and trying to fit in to a society that can’t even imagine what that might be like. I may have never been to war, but my own traumatic experiences have strong, painful, frightening triggers in every day life which affect me in much the same way.
So I appreciate that I live in a land that is not at war – yet I have no trust, and much fear, that this so called peace will last. In fact, I am nearly always on heightened alert that society as we know it is on the brink of collapse – and fully aware in that fear, that I haven’t the skills needed to survive, and most of the people around me are… asleep.
So comforted by the ‘knowledge’ that food comes from the grocery store (and will always be available,) water comes from the taps, heat and power come from automated systems in our homes, and we are basically ‘safe.’
Part of me so longs to be like them. This fear? It is exhausting. And yet the subject captures my thoughts so well that I will spend months of every year, and much of the time in between, watching, researching, considering, planning for this very thing.
For me, I am neither the person carrying the heavy wooden cross, nor the person driving in the RV filled with lots of stuff – for me it feels more like I am carrying the RV filled with ‘stuff.’ It is a burden, and I dream of ‘putting it down.’ For the weight of all of this unnecessary stuff takes so much of my attention that I can’t focus on what is really important.
So I consider: if something happened (and it is very possible that it will to some degree) would I be able to survive?
We are so dependant on electricity, natural gas, cars, money, grocery stores… most of us have no idea how to survive without them – and I must admit, I really have no clue for all the research I have done. I thrive off ideas, but I couldn’t live off them; for that I need skills.
Through the year I have been taking surveys and such every day to earn money towards gift cards. Finally I had enough to cash in, and want to trade them for something that would be useful now, and would help me to feel confident that I could survive should something happen to change the world as I know it.
And that search led me back to the thought of ‘canning.’ If I used it to buy a pressure canner, and equipment for it – though I have never canned before – would that fit my desire to use both my time and my (gift cards) towards things that would build on the skills I would need to survive; or would it increase the burden of ‘stuff’ that I carry, which takes me away from what is important?
Would I be able to learn to can safely – and would I be able to find enough recipes of the type of food I would use (vegan soups, for instance) to make it worthwhile; or would it be another failure on my part which just takes up more storage space… and if so, what would be a better option?
First world problems? Ye-es, but for one who is always concerned that we are all right on the edge of some disaster that will lead us to being completely dependant on our own skills to be able to survive… but then I think, I couldn’t fight. I couldn’t kill animals for food. I couldn’t defend myself. If it is some type of illness, I wouldn’t likely survive it. So if something does happen – I probably wouldn’t be alive long enough to use any of these skills if I did have them.
Which brings me back to the question: To can, or not to can?