By | Sunday, June 29, 2008 Leave a Comment
California is on fire.

There are currently over 1000 fires burning in the golden state. The sky over my home in Oakland has been gray with smoke for the last three days. My thoughts go out to all those whose lives have been touched by the fires and to the firefighters working to contain the blazes.

People worry about thieves. They worry about being robbed. But fire is the worse enemy. When thieves burglarize a home, they take the television, the cash, the jewels. While those jewels may contain irreplaceable family heirlooms and gifts given by loved ones to demarcate special moments, fire takes all of those and more. Fire takes the love letters. Fire takes the photographs and the film of the first baby steps. Fire takes grandma's recipes, the favorite works of art, the children's finger paintings and the handmade sweater. On top of all that, fire takes the familiar place in which one would like to shelter while recovering from the loss. Worst of all, fire has the potential to take life itself.

Twice during my five years living in Colorado, fire came so close to my home that I could see it. Twice I went through the "lifeboat drill" - what do you take with you in your "lifeboat" when the ship is sinking. I filled up my car with love letters, photographs, tax records, computers, and favorite works of art. It is gut wrenching, walking through the house, choosing what you are going to save and what you may never see again. The objects of highest monetary value get left behind to make room for those that are truly most precious.

Twice the fires came within 2 miles of my house, and twice they were stopped. The phone never rang with that dreaded call to evacuate. Still, that lifeboat exercise became one of my reasons for leaving Colorado. So where did I move to? A place that not only has fires but earthquakes as well. Sigh.
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