What would you take in a wildfire evacuation?

Being evacuated from our lovely new home in southern Colorado last Saturday, as the “Spring Fire” raged west of us, was a first for me. What should I take? What would I really miss if I never saw it again?

The irony was not lost on me. Four years ago we got rid of most of our personal belongings to move down here from Fort Collins. At that point I felt like half of the selection at the local Goodwill was mine! We moved from a 2,000 square foot house up north, into a 1,000 square foot rental in Walsenburg for a year, while building a 1,400 square foot passive solar retirement home in the foothills.

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We have been in our new home less than three years now. Within that process I have learned so much about non-attachment. It is true. Clearing out the space around you does help you to clear your mind. We usually choose to keep things around that remind us of our past loves, trips, and lives.

So what did I quickly pack into my car last week? All of my pictures and journals going back decades, my books, an ink painting I picked up at the Great Wall of China, my cloisonne ginger jar from China, clothes I like to wear, my entire desktop computer, a big Chinese lacquer box and quilts my Mom made. I wanted to load up my Mom’s hope chest, built by her in 1950, but it was just too heavy for us to lift.

Driving away from our new home was devastating. We had struggled and suffered so hard to put this new home here in the Colorado outback. Were we really going to just leave it here to burn?

morning sun on comanche drive

As you can probably imagine, this week has provided gigantic ups and downs for me. Just a few days ago I watched as tremendous plumes of smoke rose up near our new home. Ask Mike. I was one hot mess!

Now that the smoke has cleared, literally, I can feel nothing but supremely fortunate to live in a country that takes care of us when we are so terribly vulnerable.

We spoke to one of those great Forest Service men in Walsenburg yesterday. He was explaining where the fire is now and then my friend ask him how we might make donations to help their cause. He said, “We can’t take tips, this is our job.” His partner came over and said, “Just keep paying your taxes…”

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4 thoughts on “What would you take in a wildfire evacuation?

  1. Never has paying taxes seemed such a privilege!
    I’m so, so grateful your home was spared!
    What would I take? My computer as well and all my flash drives. My pictures and journals.
    Anything that simply couldn’t be replaced!

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  2. First, I hope that you and your loved ones — and everyone facing fires is safe.
    What a great question! In order of “How much time do I have?” Immediately: My wallet, phone, laptop and accompanying chargers. 30 minutes: The above + the memory boxes of my 3 children stored in one closet in the basement. Anything else, easily replaceable. Thanks for asking the question — I shared it with my 16-year-old daughter and learned so much about the ‘stuff’ in her room she finds most valuable!

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  3. Thank goodness your home is safe. What would I take? Favorite jewelry, family heirlooms and paintings, documents, photos, computers, some clothes. Stuff that can’t be replaced.

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