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By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: The need to gather what is mine


September 1, 2017

In the face of impending doom, my instinct is to collect up everyone precious to me, like a hen gathering chicks or me filling my plate with my 20 favorite treats in a dessert bar.

Mine. Mine. Mine. You are all mine. Come here to me.

At the first report of a fire in the Bear Paw Mountains Sunday, my chest went all achy with a heart palpitating need to have every last one of my family members by my side, now. Like, right now.

Not just my husband and my four-leggers, not just family in town who are within the region in which the danger exists, and not just my neighbors and, for sure, my friends in the midst of the fire. I want all those people and all their critters to gather round me. And more.

My brother and his family in Podunktown, North Dakota, needs to be here and my parents, too. Have my parents returned from Alaska? I don’t know, but they should be here. (Parents, if you are still in Alaska, you should stop fishing, just drop your poles and drive straight to me.) My nieces and nephews should be here — you, leave Oregon. You, forget Colorado. You, drop out of college in Indiana. And you guys, South Carolina has nothing for you. Get up here, now.

I feel an impending doom and the only thing that can fix it is having my peeps around me.

Not that they’d be in less danger around me. I get that.

First off, many of them I would be gathering toward the danger. And, too, let’s face it, I’m a bit of a disaster myself, so being in my presence poses a certain degree of risk, especially if tools are involved.

I’m just saying it would relieve this angst in me to have these people, my people, within sight,where I will know what dangers they or aren’t in. That’s all I want — complete control of the knowing.

When I say things like that, my husband will tell me (and please feel free to say the words in a comically snotty tone, like I do when I mock him), “If it were up to women, man wouldn’t have made it to the moon.”

And I’m, like, what does the moon have to do with the price of pie on Sunday? We can go to the moon. We can go to Mars for all I care — and I say this knowing full well that any trip into outer space, or even just the outer atmosphere, is fraught with countless and often lethal problems. Astronaut workers’ comp must be outrageously expensive.

And yet, I don’t care what’s going on.

I just want to know what is happening and what has happened and know that I did my best in the situation to help. Even if we're headed to Pluto and the person is spun off into the cold vacuum of space. Oops. I tried to catch her, but at least we were all together.

That’s the point.

We can go to another galaxy, we can fight zombies, but we’re doing it as a unified unit, like warriors moving in combat formation, or like synchronized swimmers.

A friend’s family has been helping to contain the wildfire. They were scattered from one drainage to the next and I was all, “No. No. No! For the love of all that’s flaming, no! Everyone sticks together like in kindergarten. ‘Everybody hold hands. And stay together.’”

Basic rule No. 1 for life in general. Hold hands, stick together, right beside me.

How hard is that?


Everybody stay safe out there at pam@viewfromthenorth40.com.


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