Merrily, merrily, merrily . . .

We take so much for granted these days, such as there will always be food on supermarket shelves, we’ll always be able to access our bank accounts and use our credit cards, hydro electricity will keep our lives humming along despite a few short outages now and then . . . and so on and so on.

But what if there was a catastrophic solar flare that knocked out our energy grids for months? Apparently, that is a scenario the United States is looking at and preparing for, according to reports today.

The Daily Mail says such a solar flare could end civilization as we know it.

We Earthlings would have less than an hour’s notice, apparently, if such a calamity were to occur.

Of course, it’s not like the solar flare itself would wipe out life on the planet or anything. It would simply wipe out the electrical and digital house of cards we rely on and take for granted. If it happened in the dead of winter, no doubt some people might actually freeze to death in homes without sources of heat. Store shelves might soon be emptied by looters and, well, you get the picture. Society as we know it might break down.

All because of a solar flare.

Which serves as a reminder that we humans are very fragile and, as a whole, are not very self-sufficient.

The fact that the White House is actually making contingency plans should alert everyone to the possibility . . . but I’m not sure what most people can do about it other than stock up on canned and dry goods and perhaps have some sort of alternative stove to cook on, if only a fondue set — which can heat up a meal and boil water for coffee.

One hopes that banks and such keep hard-copy records of everything, and that a world without the Internet wouldn’t interfere too much with commerce.

— Jillian