It’s time to start packing what we need for winter. We don’t call it fall here, but the leaves are starting to turn yellow and fall from the trees. It’s not winter yet, but it will be soon, and it’s going to be a harder and colder winter than the ones that have come before. You can feel the chill in the air, and the fear that is going around. Fear is catching.

So. Bring me those cans. It’s important that we keep ourselves fed while we wait for the sun to rise. Beans, vegetables, meat. The blankets too, we’ll need warmth.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring the games. We’ll need something to pass the time. Never forget to pack the fun. When the times are dark, fun brings light, and warmth, and makes the time fly so fast, that before you know it, these hard times are in the past.

Pack the love. Pack all your connections, all the ways you keep in touch with people. The people you see every day — soon, you won’t see them as often. The people from long ago, those you fell out of touch with but still remember with fondness. You’ll want to see them again, you’ll want to hear from them and know they are safe. Pack them in tight.

We’ll need paper, too. Not toilet paper (well, maybe some), but paper to write on. Paper that has already been written on. Stories are more than fun, more than things we tell to pass the time. Stories are ways to live life in your head when you can’t go out. Stories keep the mind alive. You’ll need stories.

Also, pack the hope. Bring it in and hold it close. The nights will grow cold and lonely, and they are dreadful things to sit through, but hope will get you through. Keep it with you, no matter what happens.

Now we’re nearly done packing. You just need to pack yourself in, now, the most precious treasure of them all. Come in and sit tight. Stay safe. Stay sound.

Hang in there. Keep all the precious things close, and I’ll see you in the summer.