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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fires & Things

Okay, I seriously haven't disappeared off the map like some bloggers have. I love blogging! Unfortunately, though, our internet became non-existent until just recently, so I despaired of writing regularly. I suppose I could have uploaded something at work, but I'd rather keep my personal life separate and continue to blog anonymously!

It's summertime and the season of wildfires again. I remember one summer when the fires from Mt. Shasta blanketed quite a large part of California for the entire summer. It wasn't fun to breathe smoke every day! Mid-week last week I was sitting in the living room watching So You Think You Can Dance when I began to smell smoke. At first I thought there was something burning on the stove, but quickly realized that the smokey smell was coming from outside. After going into adrenaline mode, checking online and finding out there was a fire in the area, and watching the local news, I began to sort my things for what I would need to save if there was an evacuation.

When you are faced with the possibility of your house burning down, what would you save? The immediate answer usually includes pictures, pets, wallet, important documents, computer, a change of clothes, family heirlooms, mementos, and if there's room, some food and water. Of course family is a given. I found myself walking through the various rooms of my house and dismissing everything I saw as not valuable enough to save if there was a fire. In the end, I had a small corner in my bedroom where I stacked a file box with my diaries, another box with my essays and poems and letters and other papers I wanted to save, my pictures, my small red NIV Bible, and the stuffed aging cloth bunny my mother sewed for me when I was a year and a half. That was all.

As I pulled open drawers and peered in my closet, I saw cute shoes I'd bought and never worn that I was saving for special occasions, beautiful scrapbook pages still waiting to be put into a book, brand new fun outfits I was going to lose 15 pounds before I could wear, and favourite DVD shows I'd put away to watch on a rainy day. It made me sad that perhaps I would not be able to use the things I had spent my hard-earned money on. It also made me think about the fragileness of things and how quickly they can disappear, vanishing in a moment. That evening I decided that I was going to stop hoarding things for special occasions. Life is difficult enough, so why not enjoy those special gifts now, instead of hiding them away?

I also realized that I would be very sad if the little things that held so many memories for me, were to be destroyed in a fire. The stone dolphin my friends brought back from Mexico because I couldn't go with them. The mini clogs that I watched a man carve from wood, at the cheese market in Holland. The figurine of a little boy and girl sitting on a log, that my student from English 1 class in South Korea handed me at the end of the semester. The miniature tea cups on a beautiful wooden platter that I found in the airport in Taiwan. Holding the things of this life loosely will enable us to leave it easier, one day, but I'm thankful for the memories represented in those special things and I realized that I want to continue creating and gathering memories in the future. Starting with wearing those cute new shoes to work, instead of saving them for a special occasion!

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