Communion Of Dreams

Now, do something.

Last week, there was an interesting discussion on MetaFilter about “Every Day Carry” – both the blog, and the mindset. I was a bit surprised at how dismissive people were of the need to think of basic preparedness, but then I’ve long been of a mind that having some options at hand in terms of tools and resources is better than just trusting to fate.

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A couple of weeks ago, this video and the news it generated was making the rounds:

It’s a bit long, but the summation is that Jim Berkland predicted that there would be a major seismic event in southern California sometime in the week of March 19 through March 26.

Following the Japanese quake/tsunami from earlier in the month, it understandably got a lot of attention and generated no small amount of fear and anxiety. I heard about the prediction from a number of friends, and it was a major source of chatter in a variety of different forums & social media outlets. A lot of people started thinking about what they should do to prepare for a possible catastrophe.

Well, the 26th has come and gone, and there’s been no major earthquake. Of course, no one is talking about that – it isn’t news. Earthquakes don’t happen all the time. And I would bet that a large number of the people who started giving some thought to emergency preparedness the week before have since moved on to thinking about other things. Life’s busy, after all.

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We had a bunch of friends in for the weekend, a reunion of sorts. It was a lot of fun, and good to reconnect with folks we had somewhat lost touch with.

As things were winding down yesterday, a few of us were just chatting about this and that, and one good friend told the story of what happened to his small Midwestern city in the aftermath of a really nasty ice storm a couple of years ago. Trees collapsed under the weight of the ice, knocking down power lines and blocking streets. He couldn’t get hold of his mom, who lived elsewhere outside of town, so he set out to go check on her.

He got to her just fine, using his chainsaw to clear paths through streets as necessary. And she was OK. But along the way he passed a number of houses engulfed in fire – stuff that started small but got out of control because the fire department was delayed by both the number of small fires started and the inability to navigate the streets quickly. Reports later also told of a fair number of people who died from injuries and heart attacks which were normally survivable because ambulances couldn’t get to them.

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I don’t really have anything profound to say. I guess I’m a bit tired from the weekend festivities, and my mind is sluggish. So no real insights, no real message to pass along which hasn’t been said a million times before.

But I wish that stories like the failed prediction from Jim Berkland did more than gin up fear and a short-term scramble to stock up on some emergency supplies. Every time there’s a hurricane, there are stories of stores in the area being stripped of almost everything. Same thing has happened throughout large parts of Japan, in the wake of the tsunami and ongoing problems with the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

It’s relatively easy to build a reserve of food and water, to secure necessary emergency supplies – so long as it isn’t something you suddenly need to do when everyone else is also in a panic. Think about it. Then actually do something about it.

Jim Downey

(It looks like) TEOTWAWKI.

In the 1970s I used to love to go high into the mountains of Colorado, looking for Ghost Towns. In fact, most of one whole summer during college me and a couple of buddies poked around in my old Scout II, using a well worn copy of Jeep Trails to Colorado Ghost Towns and a complete set of good topo maps for the state. We traveled slowly, camped, hitting a state park every few days to get a shower and stopping in towns long enough for food, beer, and more gas. It was an amazing summer.

So, you might say I have a thing for ghost towns.

I just love the melancholy nature of abandoned places. Fits my personality, I suppose. Somehow, I have always felt more “at home” in a place which seemed to be empty. Post war. Post pandemic. Post natural disaster. Post human.

Sorta explains Communion of Dreams, doesn’t it?

Anyway, this is just background explanation to say that I really enjoyed this post, which contains a lot of really great pictures:

Abandoned Places In The World

When starting on this post for some reason I was thinking that there are not many abandoned places in the world, at least the cities. I knew there are many villages, farms and just lonely houses all around the world but when thousands of people leave, leaving the whole city dead that’s a real tragedy. There are mainly two reasons why people suddenly or little by little leave the place where they used to live for years or even generations: that’s the danger and economic factors. The biggest number of abandoned villages and farms can be found in Unites States and the countries of the former USSR.

Visiting abandoned places is getting more and more popular these days and many tourist agencies offer special tours where people can meet the ghost cities and villages face to face. I have never been to any of these and frankly speaking I don’t want to. I thinks we should leave the ghosts in peace, especially in the places like Pripyat where the horrible tragedy took place.

Still hobbies differ and surfing online we can find photographer’s websites fully devoted to abandoned places like this one or Lost America photo stream.

Have fun. You know, in a melancholy sort of way.

Jim Downey

Via Mefi.