Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Of all kinds of birds, of all kinds of beasts, and of all kinds of creeping things, two of each shall come into the ark with you, to stay alive. Moreover, you are to provide yourself with all the food that is to be eaten, and store it away, that it may serve for you and for them." This Noah did; he carried out all the commands that God gave him.

-- Genesis 6:20-22

Later, we learn that Noah was afloat 150 days or so. One hundred and fifty days worth of supplies for eight people (Noah, his wife, and three sons and their wives) and all the animals of the earth. Now the ark was a damn big boat, but can you imagine what it was like on Day One, with all that stuff stacked up everywhere? I'm beginning to sympathize.

We moved recently, and it was as usual a panic. No move in my adult life has been organized or calm. They're always planned to be, but in the end there's inevitably a house full of stuff still, and I find myself tossing things into any box available in the middle of the night before the morning I have to be out. Then there comes the phase we're in now: living in a warehouse.

All those boxes, all that stuff, has to go somewhere, and as we have been downsizing with each move lately, there's more stuff than house right now. Hallways, porches and living areas are stacked high with boxes. Business files share corners with delicate china, boxes full of random kids' drawings sit atop ... well, I'm not really sure what's in that one, but it seems to be very carefully wrapped in newspapers.

The other day, as I slid sideways between to towering walls of boxes in the central hall, it occurred to me that this was like being on a boat at the start of a long journey. Nuclear submarines, for example, gain headroom in their gangways as their months-long deployments go on, as supplies are stored under the removable deckplates. As the food gets eaten, the deck lowers.

But this seemed more than that to me. (And, yes, I am putting the best mental spin on this I can -- I have to stave off the depressing knowledge of how this came to be and what I have to do yet somehow.) It seemed to me to be the chaos of the ark, when the supplies to feed every creature on the earth for an unknown period had to be stowed on a primitive -- big, but primitive -- ship.

Seriously, picture the situation. Bad enough to have every sort of creature pooping and just generally stinking the joint up (I try to imagine the smell of a barn or a zoo, enclosed), but also all the supplies, stacked everywhere. It helps me pretend things aren't so bad...