My triathlete friend Nancy posted this today on her blog:
"Hearing the details of disasters like this does add a little grounding to the importance of physical training, though. Would I have the strength to hold onto a tree all night, battered by waves and hurricane-force winds, the way some survivors did? Would I be able to swim to safety from a flooded building? Would I be fit enough to walk down 75 flights of stairs to get out of the World Trade Center in time? Would I have the stamina to carry my children to safety? Physical fitness is NOT trivial in those situations. There were times in my life, not so long ago, when I was heading in the direction of NOT being able to do those things. Hopefully I'm headed in a more positive direction now."
I feel better. It makes what I am doing seem not quite so trivial. So today as I was swimming, I thought continuously, "Suppose my survival depended on this? Suppose the survival of others did? Suppose I were in the wreckage of a shoaled ship or flooded building and they needed a swimmer to carry a line to dry land to rig a rescue cable? I could do that!"
We're having a yard sale this weekend. I was looking forward to some extra pocket money until our neighbor (who's putting some stuff in our sale) came over to say whatever she makes on the yard sale she's sending to hurricane relief activity, and were we in? My first thought was, crap, I want the money. But what could we say? Of course we were in immediately, and now I am glad. It's money we wouldn't have had anyway if we kept our stuff, which isn't doing us or anyone else any good. I might have been able to buy more bike gear and running shoes, but it's better that someone else be able to buy diapers and milk for their baby. I think of the lack of water down there, and lack of shelter, and the sun, and the heat, and how fast babies dehydrate.