Jun 29, 2017

Interesting Times...

Somehow life always manages to remind me of that old Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

It is interesting, but I'd give my eye teeth for it to be boring right now.  My perspective has suffered a little warping lately, and I'm working to get it back into true.

What am I rambling on about?  Fire.  I think some of you have seen my post on MAIDA, so forgive the cross-posting.  There's a wildfire in our area that's been burning since Saturday afternoon...and is still not under control.  They're managing well, considering the winds over the last several days, and the idiocy of fame-seekers with camera drones that shut down fire control efforts. 

We are currently under "pre-evac" status, meaning we need to be packed and ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.  Well, we got packed yesterday, made arrangements to bring our elderly next door neighbor with us if it gets to that point, and then...settled in to wait.  Don't get me wrong--if I get to chose between waiting and evacuating, I'll pick waiting every time!  But it is a little tense.  The fire seems to have shifted away from our area, indeed away from most any of the more populated areas...a fact for which we are so grateful.  So we are cautiously optimistic that in a day or two, they'll have the worst of it out, and we can go back to normal life.  (I am disinclined to thaw anything else out for dinner, so the hubby might get a little bored with leftovers all in a row!)

All this has made me think about the vagaries of disaster preparedness.  I grew up in Tornado Alley (north Texas), so tornadoes are what I default to when thinking of running for cover.  A massive tornado came through our town on April 10, 1979, when I was sixteen, and our house was completely destroyed--with us in it.  This pretty much set the tone for my lifetime of what to expect. 

But later in my life, I moved with my military husband to Eglin, AFB, where I got to know several hurricanes on a first-name basis.  Charlie, Francis, Ivan, and Dennis, to name a few. 

Here's the thing...

With a hurricane, you have a LONG time to get ready, because the weather folks see it coming.  So you pack your stuff and get out with plenty of life-saving time.  The problem is you can't take everything, so you're left trying to figure out what is important enough to warrant space in the vehicle.  And what is not.  And you mourn the possible loss of what you're leaving behind.  It's awful--this sadness and preoccupation with Stuff.  It's natural, but still awful. 

With a tornado, you get almost no warning.  So you either run across town to a good friend's tornado cellar (if you're lucky) or you go hide against the bed with the mattress pulled down across you--like we did when I was sixteen.  BUT.  When you crawl out of the cellar (or out from under the mattress), you have survived.  You might have lost everything you own, but you're so happy to be alive, who cares?  We're alive!!!

This fire has been much like the hurricane.  We have loads of time to get out...but we've had to take stock of what to bring, what to leave, and sit around waiting for possible evac orders, and thinking, "I wonder if I'll ever see all this again?" 

To be honest, I think the tornado warning is the lesser of two evils.  Stuff is just...stuff.  But I'd sure miss my doll collection.  And all the craft stuff I've gathered over the years.  And our comfy sleep-number bed.  See what I mean? 


  1. I've been thinking of you. Looks like the latest evacuation isn't far from you. I'm hoping for rain and winds that blow away from you. Interesting, insightful post Jan. I mentioned on MAIDA that our daughter and her dance partner live in Pigeon Forge and were packed and ready to evacuate during last year's devastating fire. We got a brief call and were told they would not be able to call again, as the authorities has requested only emergency calls. So, as parents, we told her to leave everything behind, it's just stuff like you say. Very scary, luckily they were fine and missed the evac by just a few blocks. You've got me wondering what our daughter had chosen to pack besides her beloved dog! I'll have to ask. We lived for 25 years in Weston, MO. The barn in the field next to our house had a big sign painted on the side... "The Luck Strike", because it had been hit by several tornadoes. We visited our cellar numerous times, and you're right...no time to get any stuff to safety! The best thing you said in this post, is you've made arrangements to take your elderly neighbor...You and the hubs are good people!! Again, I'll be thinking of you, stay safe.

  2. We also have been following the fire near you. I hope it is more under control and you won't have to leave. We have been hit with several hurricanes. Katrina and Ivan were the worst. Katrina didn't do us any damage, only trees, our neighbors around the lake got hit alot harder, damaging cars and houses. It was pretty bad. Fire would be so terrible and I hope you will be o:k. We are thinking about you and praying the fire will get under control and you all will be safe.

  3. You have a way of bringing everything into perspective when it comes to natural disasters and it seems you've had your share. Quite thought provoking isn't it? What do you take when given time? Stuff is just stuff and being safe is far more important than the stuff. But I sure would miss some of my stuff seeing it belonged to my grandfather etc. And the dolls I've made would be hard to leave behind (actually I think I would take a few). The most important thing of course is our lives, our pets, and our pictures. I would definitely take my photo albums.
    I hope the fire gets under control and you don't have to evacuate. I can't imagine having to wait. Please take care and be safe.


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