I meet a lot of people dedicated to the idea of family preparedness. Like all people, they come in different flavors from those who want some food, water and candles on hand for the occasional power outage to those who are planning for a breakdown in society. I am always dismayed at the ones who believe that they can to go it alone, whatever their view of the future. Humans are pack animals. With few exceptions, we crave a tribe of people who care for us, a clan we can call our own.

Somebody has to do the work. When the 911 call comes in the middle of night, somebody has to roll out of bed and man the ambulance. Somebody has to devote the hours each week to school committee meetings. Somebody has to arrange the bake sale, lead the scout troop, work at the food pantry and teach church school. As budgets are slashed, a lot of chores that used to be paying positions are now volunteer and there is work to be done to keep out small towns, churches and schools operating.

Like everybody else, I crab a bit about being busy and I am. I complain when I realize that either Bruce or I have meetings 4 nights out of 5. When one is out, the other is left with evening dishes and tuck-in time. Right now, Bruce volunteers at the food pantry, does church maintenance, is on the leadership team (church), helps out at the Creamery functions, goes to a men’s group (church), is on a committee for a land preservation project and takes classes in woodworking and bee keeping. He generally counts votes and serves as fence viewer and field driver.

I go to permaculture guild, serve on the Creamery Co-operative steering committee, help organize the sewing center, teach classes in food preservation and volunteer for school projects. We both go to Sustainability Group and go to church each week. Most of these meetings take place within a 1/2 mile of my house and those that don’t have good carpooling set up.

Just like healthy soil teems with life that is not always apparent at first glance, healthy communities are also alive with activity. There has been a lot of talk about why people chose not to get involved anymore. We are too busy, too tired, already overcommitted but often, those are excuses. People have always worked hard. They have always been tired at the end of a busy day. But the work got done. I urge you to look around. See what needs doing. If  you love books, maybe your library needs you. Love antiques?  How about the Historical Society. I know there is a house of worship that would welcome you, a school that is desperate for someone to help with a spruce up day, an elder who could use a visit.

It does no good to complain about the state of the world without being willing to work to make  change happen. As judiciously as we stock up on supplies and equipment, we need to stock up on relationships. Whoever you are, whatever your skills, there is a match out there, someone who needs just what you have.