Leaving a Burning House

So you may know, or you may not, that large sections of my state of Colorado are on fire right now. It has been a dry spring and summer after a mild winter, and drought conditions mixed with higher than average temperatures mixed with huge stands of trees decimated by beetles equals a tinder box waiting for lightning to strike. Which it does here. A lot.

Standing at my sink today washing dishes, I watched massive forks of lightning streak down from dark clouds in the south.

Two fires started in Boulder yesterday during late afternoon lightning storms that brought little rain.

And I thought, we are sheltered from most of the freakish weather here in my town: we don’t get slammed by the blizzards very often — they get tangled in the fingers of the mountains to the west; we don’t get tornadoes — they spend their fervent energy on the plains to the east; we suffer winds that make the house shake, but as long as you get your deck umbrella inside, you’re fine.

But fire? From lightning? Maybe. Could happen.

And if it did, what would I save?

It’s that question you’re supposed to ask yourself when you’re filling out the homeowner’s insurance form, as you walk around the house taking stock of your belongings. How much would it cost to replace all this stuff? What is “irreplaceable” with cash, and what do I need to do about that?

So watching the lightning in the south, I thought about it.

And I really can’t come up with much.

There are some antiques we can’t replace with cash, items that come from grandparents or other relatives. We have some handcrafted things from Russia, from my husband’s family. We have lots of things of which I’m very fond:  items that were gifts, or garage sale finds, or special purchases at craft fairs that we’ll never find again. But you can’t flee with an armoir or a giant framed picture.

And of course there are the books. But there’s no possible way of saving any of them.

Note to self: make a list of all your books, so in the event of disaster, you could rebuild your library.

Everything I’ve written, and all our music, and all our pictures are on a computer, so the computer, or at least the back up hard drive, would have to be lugged out with us. But that’s really it.

I am happy in my home. I am comfortable in the home we’ve made. It’s better, it’s more ME, more US than any home we’ve had before.

We made this home. We did it once; we could do it again.

There’s nothing we can’t redo, nothing we can’t rebuild or replace, as long as we all get out okay.

That’s all that matters. All four of us, all of our friends and neighbors: all of us, getting out okay.

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5 Responses to Leaving a Burning House

  1. Mare- I’ve been wondering how close you are and whether you’re okay. Be safe.

    • It’s scary, Kat. I’ve been trying not to get overly dramatic about it — the fires have been, for the most part, pretty far away — but with fires in Boulder in the past two days, I can’t help but think about it. I feel awful for all those people who have lost everything!

  2. Nancy Sima says:

    I have only seen pics and video (in NY) but I can only imagine the terror to be so close to raging fires…sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your community of Colorado. Be safe!

    • Thanks for your good thoughts. The camp where my son is a junior counselor is now a shelter for people displaced from their homes. I sincerely hope we get a good soaking rain very very soon!

  3. Your post gave me goosebumps, Maryanne–for the looming danger to your home and for the eloquence with which you wrote about said danger. Stay safe.

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