For the past few years we have been making regular visits to our little getaway shack in the mountains. It is a tranquil place in the bush which gives us the opportunity to escape from our suburban existence, commune with nature and recharge our personal batteries.
Recently, while sitting on an old car seat close to the ground, my wife was enjoying watching the activities of the birds as they flitted from one bloom to another in a native bush nearby. She reached over to pick up the drink she had on the ground beside her seat and found her hand was within centimeters of a very large brown snake. She instinctively knew the extreme danger in which she found herself.
I’m not sure who got the bigger fright but all you learn about keeping still when you are confronted by a snake, particularly one as venomous as a one and a half metre Australian brown snake, went out the window. She sprang out of the seat and fortunately for her, the snake squirmed off in the opposite direction.
In looking at the situation later over a calming cup of coffee, we realized we had not made any provision for what we might do should an emergency situation occur while we were at our isolated hideaway.
We at least had a first aid book, so we both read the latest technique for handling snake bite and located the place we had stored some pressure bandages along with a box of band-aids and a tube of antiseptic cream. We did not have the phone number for the local medical centre located some 12 kilometres away. Nor did we have the phone number or any idea of the location of the nearest hospital which we knew was around 60 kilometres away.
As a result of this experience we now have a reasonable first aid kit and the emergency phone numbers listed where they can easily be seen. We have found the location of the local medical centre and have directions should we need to travel to the hospital. As a precaution we have also placed some stout sticks in various locations around the perimeter of our little shack.
All this has happened as a result of an experience which brought to light how unprepared we were to confront a serious situation that could have had life or death consequences. It set me thinking about how we often float through life without preparing for some events until they happen. And, like the situation with the snake, perhaps we should be more conscious of the implications of our lack of preparedness.
Death is often one of those situations we prefer not to even think about until we are confronted by it. The death of a close friend or a medical diagnosis which shatters our understanding that we are bullet-proof and will live forever can bring some frightening realisations.
As an exercise, perhaps we could ask ourselves what we might need to do in our life now should we be forced to face our maker in a very short space of time. Like the Boy Scout motto says, we need to ‘Be Prepared’.