Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Survival of the Fittest


I had a dream a few nights ago. I often have very vivid dreams, and often these dreams are very disturbing. Sometimes I wake with a clear remembrance of what I had dreamt, and sometimes I'm only left with a vague uneasiness and a sense that whatever it was was unpleasant ... like the odiferous clouds some people leave in their wake - mildly unpleasant initially, but soon forgotten in the hustle and bustle of my mundane life.

There have been volumes written about dreams, and even some people who devoted a whole life's study to the phenomenon. I waffle between believing my dreams are just my brain's way to entertain itself while I sleep, but then, I have a particularly troubling dream, and I decide that I can't possibly be that warped and it must be that something out there is trying to tell me something while I'm asleep and my mind is not occupied by my mundane thoughts. That is, on some subconscious level I'm receiving messages, and my dreams are an allegory that I have to decipher.

I've heard that déjà vu (which literally translates to already seen) is a forgotten dream that is later remembered. In the camps that believe dreams are messages from the other world, déjà vu is seen as a precursor to great change.

I have a lot of déjà vu, and it's becoming more frequent these days. It's kind of unsettling, actually.

I had a dream the other night, though. It was vivid, but not unpleasant. I was outside cooking dinner from food that we had grown on our homestead. It was late summer time, because the gardens were full to bursting with ripening fruits and vegetables.

It was quiet, though. Much more quiet than it should be, and my present mind noted that there were no cars passing along the road. I realized that whatever "event" we - preppers, survivalists, thrivalists - believe is going to happen to plunge us into a lower energy world had happened, and my family and I had stayed here and were making a go of it.

I was pulling dinner off the fire, and Deus Ex Machina came out to help when a group of ragged people approached menacingly and demanded our food. I was not afraid. I was not angry, either, and I simply handed over the meal. They ate our food, with us watching, and then, they raided our larder and took most of what we had stored. They, thankfully, spared the garden and didn't seem to take notice of the animals in the backyard, but what they took was enough to cause us hardship, given it was late summer, and what they had stolen represented half a season's worth of canning and food storage. In short, we'd have no more strawberries or strawberry jam until the next year.

It should have devastated me.

Except it didn't. After they finished their pillaging and left, we simply walked back into the woods and foraged dinner. It wasn't as quick and easy as our home-grown meal had been, and by the time we actually sat down to eat, we were pretty hungry, but there was no desparation, no devastation at losing what we had worked so hard to gain, because in the end we had the tools we needed - knowledge and confidence.

Having stuff does not guarantee survival even in the most benign of cases. In an extreme survival situation, the single most important factor for survival is a positive attitude. Even the best prepared people die in the wilderness, because they lose confidence in their abilities.

It was an incredibly pleasant dream for me, because it reminded me that my family will be okay. There may be horrible people in the world who know nothing of self-preservation but to take what they want, and perhaps I'm deluding myself, but I know that we could survive out in the woods with only a knife. We would not be as comfortable as we are here, in our house with our electric lights and our freezer full of home-grown chicken and our indoor plumbing, but we could survive, and eventually, we'd begin to thrive, again, too.

How many others can be that sure?


  1. I caught an episode of a survival reality program on hulu the other night and it had exactly that scenario except not in a rural woods to walk to for foraging, no garden, etc. Gave Jack and me a lot to think about. I love your term Thrivalist :)

  2. déjà vu always means to me, *i am on the right path at the right moment*. usually happens after a big change for me.

    i have always taken them as a good omen. i like them..