Sunday, June 03, 2007

What truly matters

We're barely into June and already there are fires. The grass is crispy and brown, even as sparse as it is from our very dry winter.

Going south yesterday, we saw a grass fire right near I-5 that was sending billows of smoke into the sky, and two CAL FIRE tankers circling, dropping loads of water or fire retardants. It didn't last long and hopefully there were no structures involved.

The day before it was closer to home. Our neighbor called to let us know there was a fire that appeared to be in our subdivision, but that her husband and the homeowner's association president were going to check on it. A few more phone calls ended with our jumping into the car to go see for ourselves. Ultimately the fire was determined to be on a street adjacent to and backing up to some of the acreage in our subdivision, but it was extinguished in about half an hour, burning what appeared to be an outbuilding of some sort.

Nonetheless, it started me thinking: what would I take if we had to evacuate?

The cats, of course....the two inside boys and as many of the outside ones as we could get into a box/bag/carrier. The external hard drives to the computers, which hold our backups. The cameras. My purse and the checkbooks. And from there, I don't know.

Like everyone, we have irreplaceable items in the house: baby books, our wedding photos, hundreds of photos from my folks as well as ours before digital cameras. My mother's and grandmother's china teacups and teapot. A few pieces of jewelry. Some photos of Tony's family and photos of his life before us.

I'd hate to lose any of them. But on the other hand, it's just stuff. Will anyone really care about it in 20 years? Not likely.

It's friends and family that matter here. We each hold irreplaceable places in each other's lives, and when we lose them, there is a big hole that never quite patches over. Losing stuff is a hassle and sometimes cause for sadness, but losing people is tragic.

The drywinter does not bode well for a fire-free summer. We're taking all possible precautions.

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