Smoke wakes me at 4 a.m. It’s hard to breathe. I fumble windows closed, knowing that 45 minutes south of here, acreage is blazing—people already evacuated.
There’s another wildfire north of us. Is this acrid air due to a wind shift?
Or a new conflagration nearby?
Dry, high-90s weather has parched lands and lawns. Kindling, kindling everywhere.
Soon after we moved into this house, 28 years ago, a wildfire threatened the neighborhood. Dreamer made it home just before the highway closed, flames approaching both sides of the road.
Back then we had:
“One box each,” I instructed the girls. Having a little time for curation, we sorted our personal treasures. Dreamer and I took turns staying up that night beside the radio. Mercifully, our home stood, the wildfire doused. For the rest of that summer I kept my box packed.
In today’s predawn haze, even with the windows closed the air seems charred, thicker, sooty.
I practice shallow breathing, bury my nose beneath the sheet. My former rescue box held items long since bequeathed to our daughters. Now, boxes crammed for Goodwill await in another room—recent acts of curation in-progress. I’m so attached to my stuff. Everything has a story. Still, as energy wanes, streamlining beckons.
Currently, we own 1 dog, 2 cars, and a behemoth RV—way more space to cache treasures should a wildfire impel flight.
What would I pack?
- Mom’s bracelet, bought with her first paycheck
- Dad’s ski sweater, knit by Grandma
- Clipper ship, MacGyvered from scrap by my genius brother
- Skeleton key to childhood home
- Photo of that magical home
- Heart pendant from Dreamer
- USB stick: my best writing and photos
- Purse and personal papers
What about lucky shoes? The beloved book, long out of print? My journals?
At 67, how do I define irreplaceable?
A verse comes to mind: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
On demand or not, where does curation end? Would I cushion my 3-foot carved angel in favorite clothing? Or simply remind myself God never leaves us. Ever.
What would you pack?
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