The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.
~ Helen Keller
As per my last late-night post, yesterday we were evacuated due to a fire in the open space near our home. We hadn’t experienced that before. The only other time there was a big fire, we were out of town. (Our former neighbors took it upon themselves to come in the house to collect a crate full of framed wedding and family photos. They also put a sprinkler on top of our shake-shingle roof. Good neighbors.)
So last night as we watched the fire out our windows, we had to start thinking about what we should take in case of evacuation. Zippy and I believed it would be easy to grab the basics (the animals and the same framed photos plus passports, social security cards, etc and a few clothes) and get out. But by the time we received the automated call telling us to get out, we’d amassed more than that.
I gained some insights into my personal world view.
- Jog bras (Bra shopping is a horrible experience, and I’d be damned if I have to go through that again)
- An entire box of project notebooks and journals, including those containing quotes from young Wildebeest and Zebu plus one from my three weeks spent with Marilynne Robinson at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
- Every single photo album
- Binder filled with negatives
- Gratitude journal (that I’ve been actively resenting and willfully neglecting for the past couple months)
- New container of raw cashews
- New bottles of nutritional supplements
- New bottle of tequila
- Huge suitcase of family-of-origin photos recently brought back from Mom in Florida
- Laptop, current fiction project notebook, current nonfiction project notebook
- Camera and lenses
- Binoculars, bird books, birding notebook woefully out of date re sightings
- Medical records for Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and myself
That list makes it seem as if I brought every single thing I owned. Not true. All sorts of stuff was left behind. Objects that caught my eye as I passed through rooms, shuttling stuff to the cars.
- My brother’s gorgeous painting of a Jesus lizard walking on water.
- The denim jacket that first belonged to Zippy’s sheep rancher grandfather and was passed down to Zippy’s father (Stu) and now Zippy.
- Stu’s hat that became mine after he died last February because I’m the only one in the family with a head small enough to fit.
- The metal rooster that sits on top of our piano in honor of friend Michelle Begley who died in January 2015, and which also serves as mascot for the monthly Writing Roosters critique group gatherings.
- Books, many of them signed by the authors.
- The ceramic penguin doing a power salute (and showing off underarm hair) made for me by Wildebeest in high school.
- Zebu’s sticker-bedecked water bottle that’s been at his place at the dining room table since he left for Sweden in August.
- The poseable Batman featured in many blog posts over the years.
- An enormous plastic bin filled with photos that have been put in chronological order, but have not yet made it into albums.
But my decisions are a moot point. The fire was extinguished and we’re back in our house with all our stuff. Or, as George Carlin would say, all our shit.