The Value of Things
Son and I lived in hurricane country for years and so we learned the meaning of what is important a long time ago. When you have to worry about evacuating and taking what is most important in your vehicle, you soon learn that things do not have the same value as life.
We are on fire out here in Colorado. We always joked and said we would gladly swap hurricanes for snowstorms but never gave much thought to the wildfires out here. This is the closest they have come to us since we moved here in 2006 and the smell is in the air. Reminds me of when the Okefenokee swamps were burning back in South Georgia and the smell hung in the air for miles.
Son and I have kept our eyes glued on the television news since yesterday morning when the fires were all we were hearing about and especially since we heard that there was a new fire sixteen miles from us. We watched for any evacuation orders to come across the news but none as it was a smaller fire compared to the ones north of us that consumed thousands of acres.
I knew the fires were close as I have breathing issues and it has really affected my breathing. The news reporter said…keep your air conditioners and swamp coolers off and windows shut. That is some kind of directive when the temperature is hitting 100 degrees but it was said to keep the home from filling with smoke even when not in an evacuation zone.
While we really did not think we would have to evacuate, son and I did our usual plan, putting things in a spot by the door so that we could leave quickly. Important things like medicines, important papers (passports, banking info, insurance info), a bug out bag as we call it, which has a couple of changing of clothing and personal items, water and food, and that was it.
After years of having to evacuate our home during a hurricane in the gulf as we lived less than 50 miles from the gulf waters and lived in a modular home, taught us what was important. It was not all the things in our homes. It was each other, our Daisy (or Jack as it was back then) and our papers and medicines and food and water. The other things lose value when something like a storm hits or a fire that could take your life.
People actually refused to leave their homes here and that made more work for the rescue people. Just like those that refuse to leave their homes in a hurricane when told to evacuate. When people do that, they are not just affecting themselves but the rescue people who are there to do a job. There is nothing in this house or any house that is worth risking one’s life over or putting others in jeopardy to come in and rescue someone after being told to evacuate. That is what we have insurance for to replace our necessities.
I think about the devastation these fires have wrought and yet I look at how these people have come together. Other ranches outside the fire area opening up their barns and ranches for those in line of the fire to bring their animals too, rescue centers opening and donation sites with people pouring in to bring water, gatorade and food for those fighting the fires and for those that had to evacuate.
Son and I knew that if the order came to evacuate, we could walk out the door and get in the van leaving everything behind and head to safety and not be trying to load everything we could get our hands on into our vehicle. All we needed was ourselves and our Daisy. Life is way more precious than possessions. And as we watch the news again today, we are saying prayers of thanks for all the lives spared and prayers that they fire fighters will be able to contain all the fires that have erupted. As one emergency management official said…these fires will be burning for days.
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