A box this morning sat next to the front door. One of many that have litter our house entryway in the past two weeks. This solitary reminder that it needs to get to where it will do some good instead of collecting dust within our walls.
The situation of facing a cold winter is nothing new to me. Die hard Minnesotan farm kids learn early to dress for frigid temperatures. As a cross country and down hill skier, I learned to layer warm base clothing with jackets that break the wind. These simple acts of preparation can be the difference between having fun in the cold or lead to dangerous frostbite situations if improperly prepared. Part of my left ear is evidence and a constant reminder of what cold temperatures can do even if you have all the proper gear.
This winter we are all trying to conserve energy here in The Netherlands as the prices of fuel have sky rocketed.
Knowing what we could be facing I have been checking regularly in our local thrift stores and on our online second hand sites for real wool clothing. Nothing, insulates or keeps a body core temperature regulated like 100% wool. I have been lucky and found items that would be handy to have if our power was to go out.
That rarely happens here in The Netherlands, where almost the entire power grid runs underground. But, even though rare in occasion, it has happened briefly in the many years I have lived here. It helps to be prepared.
But, as bombs have fallen into the Ukraine and knocked out their power grid in the last three weeks my anger towards that situation increased, my empathy for those citizens and what they have faced at the hands of Russian government has me on edge.
“What can I do?”
As a retired combat zone veteran, I know the true situation of what it feels like to live in that sort of situation. Not knowing what the next minute will bring. Feeling overwhelmed by the destruction that is caused by such violent acts! Living in building that have “nice windows for air circulation” (meaning artillery shell holes) that do not offer proper protection from the cold brutal winter elements. Buildings with no heat or running water during the winter months lead to dangerous deadly suffering.
That suffering is cruel!
I turned my anger into useful positive energy. All those wool clothes, all my handspun wool yarn, all those wool hats I had knitted durning COVID just to pass the time, all of them boxed with care, labeled, sat next to the door. Each one with a prayer of protection to those who may be the final person who receives the item, a prayer of happiness for the woman who may have lost everything to receive a box, open it and find knitting needles and 100% Merino yarn handspun by some stranger she will never meet, my story she will never know.
This small drop of kindness in the sea of potential misery. A box filled with items carefully selected seems like it will hardly help, but I know better than most people, it can be a lifesaver of hope and that is all I would ask for if I was cold.