Monday, October 22, 2007

Wildfires Suck

That is a direct quote from my sister Andie. She lives in Lake Arrowhead, just above L.A. As she said a few hours ago, there is one fire about 4 miles away, another about 4 miles the other way, and another about a mile away. They have not been told to evacuate yet (Good? Bad? I don't know) and the wind is blowing about 50 miles an hour but away from them. She has the "important stuff" packed in the car so she can be out in less than 20 minutes.

There is nothing like death or an impending fire to set your priorities straight. All of a sudden, there is clarity regarding what is important to you. Other than the obvious clothes and supplies, what would you pack and take if you knew you only had a few hours and could only take what would fit in your car?

I would certainly take my photographs, albums, and my back up computer drive with all my photos. If I didn't save my stuff, at least I would have pictures of it. My mom's letters to her mother while my parents were stationed in Germany. My daughter's baby sweater. My grandmother's quilts. Our family cookbook with recipes from across the generations. The birthday cards my mom sent me. The log barn and cabin replicas my father in law made. The books my children made when they were in elementary school. The genealogical history, books and mementos from my ancestors.

I know that I need to simplify and my life should not be about stuff. But most of my "stuff" has emotional ties. My grandmother's furniture and dishes. Some of them came from her parents and relatives. Furniture from my parents, mementos from my childhood. Anything related to my family, my late husband, and my children would be devastating to me if it were lost to me. I would still have the memories and the ties but would be heartbroken.

So Andie, Josh and Taj - be safe. I love you.