I am feeling shaken. Personally. An earthquake halfway around the planet in Japan may be touching us directly. The butterfly effect, up front and personal. This planet is one organism.

If I were to anthropomorphize the planet’s activity (which could be as ridiculous as the bacteria in my gut trying to figure out what my entire body is doing), I’d say Gaia is doing her part to minimize the life-destroying effects of human activity and get us reconnected to her. Massive quakes increasing. From less developed areas like Haiti and Chile a year ago, now to one of the most industrialized nations on the planet.

Such natural events are one sure way to get us to reconnect to the natural cycles. Like massive floods in Pakistan or England, hurricanes and droughts in Australia. Reconnecting, and then living within nature’s limits and cycles, is required for sustainability. Nature bats last. She’s showing us in spades.

Back to the up front and personal. Radioactive fallout from Japan’s three nuclear reactors, damaged in Friday’s shattering 8.9 magnitude quake, may ride on the jet stream and fall right here to the west coast of North America. On our heads, intermixed into the forecasted rain.

This quake shakes me into thinking again about emergency preparedness. Responding Saturday to Mike Ruppert’s alert, we ordered potassium iodide tablets online immediately (used to prevent thyroid glands from uptaking the radioactive iodine in the fallout.) Calls around my mom’s town found none available, and several online sites out of stock. Potent reminder about doing preparedness work *before* an emergency.

Not that preparedness is new. It’s just that now I have to think of it in a fresh light due to changing circumstances. One is our living primarily in The Little House, the mobile studio/RV, where storage space is limited.

The second is our shift to a low-grains, low-carbohydrate diet. I’ve stored plenty of lentils, beans, and rice at Lone Bobcat Woods. So my thoughts turn to storing meat and vegetables, not as easy as grains and legumes! And on our limited budget, that means canning them ourselves.

Following a link on Carolyn Baker’s daily email digest, I landed on instructions for canning butter. A brand new idea to me, and a welcome one for preserving a nutrient-dense fat. Which then leads to the need to bring the pressure-cooker canner and jars on the road in The Little House.

Which leads to thinking about other preparedness items for The Little House. The backpacking water filter. Foldable plastic jugs for water storage. The homeopathic first aid kit. And questions about where to store those. One thing leads to the next.

Emergency preparedness is now on my radar for when we return to Lone Bobcat Woods. Along with cleaning out and downsizing, assemble some emergency preparations to take along in the Little House.

After taking these steps, I turned to my sketchbook, photographing images I’ve drawn during our past eight months on the road. I assembled this collage of views from the Little House (at bottom).

I have done two things in response to my fear. I have taken appropriate action to meet what may come. And then I have soothed my heart by immersing myself in the timeless.



  1. Dear Janaia and Robyn – Though my kids make fun of me I’ve been a “disaster planner” all my life. Having gone through World War II and the scrimping and saving in which my family participated I’ve always had “extra” on hand whether it was food or water or batteries or health supplies, etc. Now I’m having fun getting acquainted with new technologies involving solar uses, flashlights you shake and radios you crank. As a Girl Scout leader for 25+ years I’ve followed the edict of “Be Prepared”. I’m still hopeful that all our emergencies will be small ones. We’ll see!

  2. Hang in the Janaia!

    I also always want to mention this – start building relationships with your community members long before the crisis hits. Get a sense of where the elderly are – check in – do they have people that can help them and perhaps their pets in an emergency. Are there warm places for them to go if the heat goes out? Do they at least have numbers on hand of who to call?

  3. Jim Bristow says:

    Hi Janaia, Wonderfuly expressed, we too are exploring what to do next. Possibly going on a high fiber (wood only) diet, considering all the materials I have! I am installing cisterns in the neighborhood through Seattle Public Utilities, and my main focus is emergency water storage, with filtration kits. In light of this latest disaster, people are starting to understand why we do what we do. Thank you and Robyn for all your dedication!

  4. Georgia Dow says:

    Beautifully written Janaia, informative, sensitive, practical, encouraging and calming, just what we all need. I love you! G

  5. Janaia,
    I notice a similar and what feels to me like a sane and healthy response here. Tim and I were talking this morning. Each of the “shocks” to the larger systems become times to take the next steps. For me, in Maine, it is everything from greenhouse supplies to ordering chicks as well as being so happy we are presenting a broken-tile mosaic workshop here in town. What could be more basic than food and art? Well, warmth, music and love are the other essentials. Beyond that it’s all here in the moment to be experienced, the depths, the fear, the sadness as well as the amazing joy with each breath when I am actually “awake.” Thanks for your work, your writing, your good hearts, sharp minds, and amazing creativity!

  6. You do get our attention. And yes, this time we should listen to your good advice. It does make a lot of sense. Just have to figure out where to start!

    I love seeing your artwork. It thrills me what a wonderful artist you are. I love everything you do.

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