Take one box

Take one box Take one box

Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 3)Take one box (take 3)Take 4Take 4Take five Take 5-ishTake a key

Take another lookAnother lookPenultimatePenultimateFinal take? Final take?Boxes, chests, travelling trunks, cartons, suitcases……these containers for possessions, precious and plain, have been part of my family’s life and history for generations. They have traversed the world with us, and then some.  For as long as I can remember, boxes/trunks/chests have been as integral to my living spaces as the kitchen sink. Unlike the kitchen sink, I love them.

On 20th June, the UNHCR asked us, the people of the world, to consider, as part of World Refugee Day, what one thing we would take with us, if we had one minute to flee our homes. http://unhcr.org/1family/   The question is difficult to answer, and, of course, there is no, single correct answer.  I don’t know what one thing I would take. When we  fled our home after the big earthquake  in February 2011, I took my laptop, my mobile phone, my handbag, which happened to have cash, credit cards, passports and medications in it at the time, a bit of food, and a handful of clothing.  And the keys to the house.  ( I have heard it said that people fleeing will often take the keys to their house even though the house may have been lost; and/or  the owners have no idea when they will be returning ) As you can see that’s more than one thing!  But I had more than a minute to think about what to take 🙂   However, I will say that, out of all the things I took away with us that day, the one thing that turned out to be the most valuable  was  knowledge. The knowledge that boxes and belongings are non-essentials. When it really matters I know how to let them go.

© silkannthreades

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40 thoughts on “Take one box

  1. daniellajoe

    i hope i don’t have that type of emergency but i think it would be my keys and cell phone, after I scream my head off 🙂 and my family is safe…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Screaming your head off! I like that. I must say, I very really swear or cuss, but an earthquake certainly releases words I never knew I knew 😀

      Reply
  2. Clanmother

    Every once in a while, we have a fire alarm in the middle of the night. (I live in a Condo). There is always a dread when you wake up to an emergency. Heart rate increases, and there is a panic that comes over me. I imagine it is our immediate fight or flight response. You asked a very good question and one that is about preparedness. When we are in the midst of chaos, we really don’t think that clearly. Know what is important beforehand…

    Reply
  3. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    Earlier this year we had a very strong (and long) earthquake. We lost power – I assumed that the fault line about 40 miles down the coast had toppled the coastal city of Bahia de Caraquez again. For the first time ever, I prepared for a tsunami. I realized that nothing was important – only getting to a safe place. I tucked the laptop and my purse into a bag, and i was ready to go – no qualms about any other ‘stuff ‘ just survival cash, passport and laptop (to let others know i was ok) — and then the power came back on, and i logged on to see that the earthquake was inland… it was a good ‘firedrill’ for me.
    z

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Those firedrills are good practice but I have to say that, being the silly muddlehead that I can be, practice in my case doesn’t make perfect. Should there be another earthquake of magnitude I know I am very likely to stand petrified and witless again despite my supposed preparedness and planning. 😦

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, that is so true. When I wrote that post I was remembering the absolute clarity (almost freedom) that came to me at the time; the ‘knowing’ of the utter irrelevance of any of the things.

      Reply
  4. utesmile

    I wouldn’t know what to grab first…. most likely my children. You are right though, knowledke is the best thing you get from every experience!

    Reply
  5. pleisbilongtumi

    I love this writing. I tell you frankly, never thought how important to put some precious things in a place that is handy to carry when emergency but there are too many. he he he….. I must think about it twice after several times selection. Cloths will never be on the list! This writing is a reminder to me. So tomorrow I am going to have a look if I have a box for them. Great day. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Pride in Photos Photography

    Gallivanta, you have really made me stop and think about what I would take in an emergency! We are in the hurricane season, and have talked about this before with my husband. But I have to say, I would take my external hard drive passport with all my photos on it. My husband says, he would take his coin collection. LOL! loved you photos.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh yes that external hard drive! Coins….well, I don’t know 🙂 Each to his own! It’s funny but what we think we will do and what we do actually do can be quite different. Recently one of our Cabinet Ministers had to flee from a fire in her house. The one thing she took was her Cabinet briefing papers. I think she is feeling a little embarrassed about that!

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. Lovely to have such kind comments from an artist. If you are able to enlarge the photo you may see that the book is open at a painting called “Peasants dancing outside an Inn” c. 1645 by David Teniers the Younger. It’s a fascinating and wonderful painting and I was trying to emulate some of its elements in my photo studies.

      Reply
  7. tiny lessons blog

    Very interesting! I’ve only fled once – from the war when we lived in Ethiopia many years ago. In addition to the keys, passports, credit cards and a few sets of clothes we also grabbed the floppy discs – this was before laptops and memory sticks – and that taught me to save my work 🙂 When we came back almost 3 months later, everything was fine apart from a single huge bullet that had come to through the roof and landed in the middle of our living room floor…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, Yes, I , too, have come to appreciate the valuing of saving my data; in as many formats as possible! I am so interested that you lived in Ethiopia. Have you any blog posts on those days? When we lived elsewhere, we always had an emergency bag ready for rapid departures. And safe room plans and safe route to the airport plans. Luckily, we didn’t have to use any of it. So the great irony is that ,when we came to ‘safe’ New Zealand, we actually needed those plans and bags and we didn’t have them ready. LOL.

      Reply
      1. tiny lessons blog

        That would be it – when you least expect it! Yes, I have blogged a few times about our time in Ethiopia (sometimes it’s a part of the post) and I am planning a few more posts. Here are the links http://tinylessonsblog.com/2013/03/30/a-different-kind-of-easter-weekend/ http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/12/07/holidays-journeys-traditions-and-trees/
        http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/08/04/just-a-cup-of-coffee/
        http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/08/03/the-flow-of-things-and-my-old-suv/
        http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/07/15/lycaon-pictus-the-hunt/
        I hope you enjoy browsing these 🙂

        Reply
  8. teamgloria

    dearest friend in NZ

    this was a very meaningful and thought-provoking and emotion-swelling-up post.

    the idea of Peril is so near at hand when one lives in L.A and we all wait for the Big One but no one mentions it. EVER.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Aww, thank you for your kind words. But thoughts of Peril must not rule our lives so maybe LA is wise and simply enjoying each day as it comes :).

      Reply
  9. Forest So Green

    My keys and money and ID cards are in my purse, so I would certainly grab that first. I like the way you arrange objects in your photos, especially when you place an open book in the background 🙂 Annie

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Isn’t a purse so useful! It contains most of my life really. Thank you for your kind words; I love books but I don’t get to read them as much as I would like to. By having them open and on display around the house, I encourage myself to look at them more often.

      Reply
  10. vsperry

    I ponder this as well, especially in the wake of the natural and unnatural disasters that seem to be happening with alarming frequency. I always think that there is very little in my house that is “necessary”. I just want to make sure my animals and my husband and I are safe. But I would probably take important papers, some clothes, a pocket book, (and keys) and a cell phone, trying not to forget to take a charger. (The price of modern technology…you can take your phone with you but you have to remember the cord.) The rest I would have to grieve over, but I think you’re right, ultimately, it’s just stuff in boxes.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Family, including animals, are the number one concern. Our little dog coped very well with the noise of the earthquakes and then being bundled into a car and taken off to unfamiliar territory. And that mobile charger; very important. One thing that proved surprisingly useful though in our homes, during the earthquakes, was the old fashioned plug in the wall landline phone. The cell phone system became overloaded and the cell towers got close to the end of their battery life, yet the old landlines were mostly still accessible. Sometimes old technology has its merits 🙂

      Reply
      1. vsperry

        That happened to me when I was visiting my dad after a huge October (late fall) snow storm. We had no electricity and no cell phone service after a day, but the land line was operating and the town water was working. Having a phone really helps me to feel like I am connected with the world.

        Reply
  11. tableofcolors

    I think I would grab my purse and passports first and check to make sure that my phone and keys are there as well…I guess I would fall into the general category by automatically taking the house keys with 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s almost a reflex isn’t it! The keys, I mean. I guess in these situations, if we have time to think, it is about taking the means to buy, the means to communicate; the means to establish an identity and the means to establish ownership over our most important piece of property. We think about our basic needs.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, it is interesting about keys; perhaps, like gold, they have more value than, say, a land title document or a land lease. I agree that jewellery is nice and portable and potentially useful.

      Reply
  12. Sheryl

    I like the way you’ve incorporated an old storage unit into the attractive decorating scheme of your home. I have a couple miscellaneous chests and trunks tucked away in bedrooms; and I should think about ways to feature them in more prominent spots.

    Reply
  13. YellowCable

    A very good question. I hope every thing went well for you then. This is a question that I also ask myself from time to time. If you have to run to a safe place for whatever reason. What are the minimum things you need to bring with you. My answer was the things that I cannot easily replace. But, I think you are right that the knowledge to know what matter the most is the answer. A good post!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is an interesting question, isn’t it. Of course, it is about things and not people. People will always be the number one priority. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

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