On the day of the Christchurch 2011 earthquake, the air in the inner city was heavy with smoke. We watched nervously as the helicopter with its monsoon bucket laboriously scooped water from the river to pour on the fire. Later that day a neighbour called by saying, “There isn’t enough water pressure. The whole of the inner city could go up in flames. Make sure you have one bag ready by the door. You need to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice”.
What of our possessions to take and what to leave, knowing everything might go up in flames? I was surprised at what I chose to prioritize. It was a project I had been working on at university. It wasn’t what I previously thought would have been my top priority. But I was happy knowing this was what I wanted to take with me.
During the night, it rained heavily and the fires went out. If there had been no rain, or if, as feared, there had been strong gusts of warm northwest wind, there would have been no stopping the fire.
Looking back, I still really appreciated this neighbour for taking the time and trouble to find out and communicate this good and helpful information.
I’d like to think of Transition Monday as being like many helpful neighbours: not afraid to ask questions (see Q&A). taking time and trouble to search out good information (see resources), having conversations and offering ideas and advice (see forum).
Hopefully, this kind of good information can help gain us some precious quality time – time to reflect on what is real and what is really important to us – so when we act, it’s much more likely we can know what really want to do and be effective with it.