Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wallets and Purses

This evening, darling Pepper made his way into my bedroom.  Sasha was not amused and has determined that this intruder is a threat to her bedroom.  Now Pepper is pretty much odd man out.  Since Cayce has joined our home, he finds his food eaten by this noisey, active non-cat creature.  Pepper has become elusive.  He only really comes out now when that heathen dog has go to bed for the night.

Tonight, I saw him making his way slowly through my door, mindful that the mighty Sasha would be watching his every move.  I gave him a little food and then sat with him on the floor for awhile. By the way, I'm convinced that it is very good for the soul to sit on the floor now and again.  My purse was within arms reach and open.  I noticed my watch inside and vaguely remembered tossing it in my purse when we were packing to leave because of the fire.  I'm still walking around packed bags in various rooms in the house.  I suppose we haven't returned to normal just yet.  Not til we've had enough rain can we really let our guard down and not think about the threat of fire starting or returning.

As I sat on the floor with Pepper, I decided while I was down there, protecting him, I would clean out my purse.  I began pulling out my wallet and dollars just shoved down inside from the last trip to the grocery store.  You know the moment they hand you your receipt, the coin change and the dollars all at the same time and the person behind you is already shoving their cart into your space.  So I secured the loose bills inside my wallet and continued cleaning.

Pepper ate some and Sasha moved from the bed to near my computer chair and just sat there, wide eyed and staring at Pepper.  I could feel the love.  As I continued my journey into the abyss that is my purse, I came across a CD that a friend had made for me.  I remember sitting at work and she came by my window and handed me this CD of music.  I promised her I would listen to it but I'm sure I was busy at work and just stashed it in my purse for another day.  Another day that hasn't yet happened.  There is sat in my purse.  I pulled it out and looked at it.  She had listed the songs and the artists and then wrote "Love Mary".  She's just thoughtful that way.  When I put out a call to friends that I was looking to reuse some of their glass jars with lids, she faithfully brought me her cleaned peanut butter jars.  I was beginning to think that's all she ate as she was bringing them so often.  But I was grateful to her for remembering me.

I held the CD and thought to myself.  Mary had given the CD to me about a week before the fire.  Now Mary's home was completely gone.  How much life had changed in a week.

I continued my journey through my purse.  Pulling out receipts and crumpled grocery lists, stacking them up for later discard.  Then I pulled out these stickers.  I remembered getting those stickers last Saturday.  My Son and I had headed out to the Producers Market on the edge of town.  As we slipped down the alley behind Main street, I saw the firefighters were collecting money for charity.  I had reached down in my purse and pulled out the loose change and dropped it into the boot held by the fireman.  He was smiling and friendly and grateful.  He had handed us the stickers for our donation.

Our trip to the Producers Market took less than an hour and as we back tracked our way home, heading down the same alley, we saw the same fireman and the same boot, made another donation and received more stickers. 

I held those three stickers and thought about how none of us knew on that Saturday that 24 hours later, that fireman would be out there in those woods and in those fields fighting the fire of his life.  None of us knew how life would change for everyone.  We were just going about our daily lives. 

As I finished cleaning my purse, I wondered how long it would be before I stopped associating things with that day the fire started.  Oh I did this just before the fire started, or I went there to eat the morning the fire started.  The fire has become the mental time marker.  Maybe the moment it started was the end of one life and the beginning of another.  Maybe that's why it seems so important and noteworthy.

Mostly likely its because those four days with the fires were so traumatic, even if you lost nothing, that all we can remember is before it started and then its as if we woke up four days later when the smoke cleared.  Long days with no sleep and constant fear does odd things to our mental  perceptions.

Either way, the purse is cleaned, the stickers are tucked away in my wallet as a reminder that life can change in an instant.  A reminder that I will not take a moment for granted.  Never again.

And neither should you.

No comments:

Post a Comment