Friday, April 12, 2013

The Things They Carried

Look at these pictures:

This isn't an attempt to make people feel bad that they have more than other people or a call for us to focus less on the material and more on the eternal - if anything, the plight of the refugee should call to mind how vastly important the material is, when that category includes food, clean water and shelter - but it is an attempt to ask what we would bring with us.

When Graeme was younger, he fell and broke his arm. I scooped him up off the ground, ran home with him, put him in the car, ran into the hospital carrying him and didn't put him down until we got to a hospital bed. I'd do it again, over a dozen miles, and I'd carry Brandon with him, if it meant they'd be safe. They can both walk, though. Ditto the wife.

I wouldn't save the cats. Sorry, Christy, dear, but they're both old and ornery and carrying either of them would be more of a pain than anything else.

My notebooks? I've a hundred of the things, and, really, they're most ephemeral scraps, little bits of thought leaking out onto paper, the pressure release valve for this grey hunk of meat between my ears. No, not them.

My Bible? Maybe. Thing is, I've never been one of the notes-in-the-margin Bible readers, so my Bibles are really just books, and none of them especially rare. I'd be saving them out of emotional investment in them, and none of them have that kind of resonance.

"Knee Deep In Thunder?" Quite probably. It took me forever to find a copy of that book, and it looks like it's once more out of print. It certainly has emotional heft.

I don't know what I'd bring, in the end. What about you? What would be the thing you'd carry?

1 comment:

  1. I think about this a lot, though intermittently.
    My answer changes every time.

    I mean, sure, if for some reason my husband can't get out, or our dog, of course.
    But assuming they've gotten themselves out, assuming we're talking about things... my answer varies.

    My laptop, I guess. That would be practical.
    Some shoes, I suppose.
    I dunno.
    I have a lot of stuff, but none of it really matters.

    Mostly I count it a victory when I'm pretty sure I'd bother to get out of the house in the first place.
    Don't get me wrong, I would. I've proven to myself that when it comes down to brass tacks, I will choose to live.
    But often, I'm not at all sure of that.
    And sometimes I'm sure of it, but I resent it.

    So... I dunno.