Jan. 19th, 2014

bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Be it ever so smoky and weird-moonscape-looking-hill-surrounded, there is no place like home and, as of yesterday evening, we are back in ours. Yay! Toasting this fact last night with a nice glass of wine, I tried not to make the obvious jokes about smoky notes but eventually gave in because, hey, you’ve got to laugh. And if something actually scares you then you’ve got to laugh even harder.

There are many wonderful things about living in Southern California and, sadly, the wildfire danger is certainly one of the ways we pay for all of our benefits. I live close enough to the mountain that I have been in the fire danger zone many times before, but this is the first time we’ve actually been in one of the evacuated communities.

So, um, yeah. Anyway. That happened and in the end it fortunately just amounted to a few days of stress over what thankfully turned out to be a near miss – a very near miss looking at the large burnt areas on the hillside across the street – rather than a tragedy (heartfelt thanks to our local emergency services.)

What fascinates me in the aftermath is that I’ve talked to coworkers, friends and family over the last few days and, to a person, they all ask how you pick what to take with you in such a situation. I understand why – the thought of losing everything and starting over is pretty universally frightening. We started with practical things we would need right away – clothes, medications, cell phones, laptops, chargers and such – and, of course, the cat and her supplies. When we still had time, we grabbed less practical things we hoped never to part with, but we didn’t have a lot of time even though we were chucking things into clothes baskets to carry quickly to the cars.

Interestingly enough though, that evening as I tried to fall asleep in my old room at my parents’ place and my brain spun over everything we left behind, there are only a few decisions I would have made differently, only a few extra things I would have tried to grab. As much as I would never want to start over and replace any of it, especially those much loved things that simply can’t be hauled out quickly in an emergency like all of our books, when it really comes down to it, most of it is just stuff. Useful stuff. Interesting stuff perhaps. Enjoyed stuff. But still just stuff.

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