It’s late evening. The sky should be dark but instead there is an ominous red casting an eerie glow over the hillside behind the RV park where we live. Reclining in a chaise lounge on our front patio area I am watching the hill illuminated by the wildfires that have been raging near our town since Monday morning. Only this evening has the fire approached a distance close enough to warrant an evacuation and like the flames themselves, the energy, concern and panic among those around me is both palatable and spreading.
As ash falls from the sky, campers evacuate the park and I have the amazing opportunity to look around our house and ask myself, “What is worth saving?” I put our kid’s backpacks on the bed and pack an extra change of clothes, bathroom necessities, special stuffed animals, pillows and library books. The library books are not a logical choice based on cost (considering the fact that I don’t grab our VitaMix or anything else of higher value) but I just hate to pay fines so I stash them in the car anyway. I grab my Bible, computer and a few changes of clothing (including the jeans that fit just right that I’d rather not try to replace) and empty the contents of our fire safe into a backpack (which seems oddly backward). A few of my favorite homeschool books are set aside. I consider grabbing the kefir pancakes that I made this morning because I’d doubled the recipe and they are just so good but decide that is less logical than the library books and I leave them safely tucked into their ZipLock bag in the fridge. The trunk of the van is loaded with the items mentioned above as well as some plastic totes containing scrapbooks and mementoes that weigh as much as a baby elephant. I stare at the stuff and think, “It’s like we are going camping.” If this all burns down in the night I will be sad, but more for the loss to those around me than for my personal items. For now I lack the desire or urge to run around the house gathering and hoarding our things and I sit content and thankful for the immeasurable value of my family, friends and salvation.
Sweet Ashlyn may have said it best when she stated, “Well, at least if our place burns down we will have an easier time fitting our things into an RV in the future!”