I’ve just returned home with my family after being evacuated due to a wildfire. The experience was one filled with shock, fear, and pure relief and thankfulness.
It’s funny. We can go for weeks, months, even years not talking to family or friends but when a tragedy hits they all come out of the woodwork. Read here about our evacuation.
The afternoon we were evacuated I received so many calls, messages, and texts I was near tears. The overwhelming outpouring of friendship, support, and love took my breath away.
There were four of us. Myself, husband, adult son, and our golden retriever. We piled into the cars with the mishmash of things we chose to pack and headed down the hill to safety. That was the beginning of a one week adventure.
Fast forward and we’re home. The house is safe (I wasn’t expecting everything inside to smell like a campfire but it does) and except for the loss of one home in the neighborhood, all is well. Now what does any of this have to do with my over active twisted writer brain? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps everything.
You see, we’re the accumulation of every experience we have. I’d never been in an emergency evacuation before but I have now. So many new experiences and people who touched my life in varying degrees.
One example; There was a man at the emergency check in. I don’t know his name. It’s even difficult to describe him because he was keeping his distance and also wore a mask. I know he had silver hair. Anyway, he was so full of positive energy that I could feel it emanating from him. He had a bounce in his step, a hidden smile behind his mask but one that reached his eyes every time, and always a nod to acknowledge your presence. He offered water, a kind word, and information/advice to all who’d been displaced. I was so impressed.
He has no idea who I am and chances are we’ll never meet again, but I’ll never forget him.
To me, these kind of encounters sink deep into my subconscious and will come out somewhere in my writing in the future. Chances I won’t recall the exact person–but instead the feeling conveyed, and I’ll build a character around that.
We are the sum of our experiences and those experiences take me places in my brain where I’ve never travelled before…Those new experiences, observances, and emotions are tangible right down to the very core of my being and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They are what make me–me.
Thank you to all the Emergency staff, Firefighters, and Forestry personnel who worked so tirelessly to get us back in out home safely.
If you missed my little poem about the the fire and the firefighters you can read it here.