Monday, September 5, 2011

Which is Worse, Waiting or Running?

This exceptional day in my town has led to a very long night.  What started as a quiet morning, peaceful and calm, followed by lunch with the kids enjoying great food and atmosphere, has turned into something beyond belief.

After noon, the winds picked up here.  When we stepped outside the restaurant, the wind blew dust and dirt in our eyes and mouths.  We watched the wind blow dirt across the roads and My Son kept saying "Dust Bowl, Dust Bowl".  I could imagine those that lived through that terrible decade had seen many days just like today.

Then the smell of smoke and the sirens were heard.  Once again, our hearts sank at the thought of a fire after so many months of heat with no rain at all.  Everyone went on alert and this time, with very good reason.  This fire was no ordinary fire.  This fire would be whipped by high winds and fueled by dry and dead vegetation and trees.  Nothing was surviving this summer of drought.  We all knew this would eventually happen.  I guess we just all prayed it wouldn't.

Dark smoke became visible in the sky to the east.  It was the blackest darkest smoke I've ever seen. By the time the fire was spreading rapidly, it appeared  to cover the sky behind my home.  We listened to alarms and emergency transmissions all day long.  One subdivision after another was evacuated.  Friends and coworkers alike affected and displaced.  Then news came of more fires breaking out as the winds continued to whip across the area.  We knew they could never contain a fire of this size with the wind at the helm.

Picture courtesy of S. Braley and FB

News came of this store and that home and this area all lost to the fire and still it continued.  The smoke now looked like clouds in the sky, tall and storm like in appearance.  It looked like a bad storm was coming.  A storm that would bring rain to our parched land. But this was no storm that would help us.  This was a firestorm.  This storm would consume lives and dreams and memories.  Mementos of years and loved ones and milestones.  All gone in minutes.  The beast was hungry and very angry. 

Night has fallen now and we can no longer see the smoke that served as an indicator of where the beast was located.  Fires continue to break out around town and we have been warned that everyone in town must be ready to evacuate.

We gathered up some belongings and made a plan of what would be taken if and when we were forced to leave.  As I went around the house, I began to wonder which was worse, no notice to evacuate, just grabbing whatever you could find, or having time to think about it and try to make decisions.  I looked at the big TV in the front room.  Never in my life did I think I would have such a luxury.  I looked at my bed, my favorite place in the world, never would I find another one like that.  I looked at my mother's old Singer pedal sewing machine and the Jelly Jar Cabinet.  I looked at the boxes of old photo's my mom had kept all her life. Not much could be taken in the evacuation.  We grabbed a few days worth of clothing, the safes, our purses and other things we would need to just carry on another day.  All the belongings that had taken a lifetime to acquire would have to stay behind should we need to leave.

Which is worse, no time to think, or too much time to think?  I don't really think it makes a difference as both will be filled with regret.  Regret that I didn't have time to secure this item or too much time and choosing to leave an item behind.  All these things that make up my world.  All these things that have been in the way but too precious to part with.

So if the beast comes my way tonight or tomorrow when the winds are expected to increase, we will take the few things we have packed, our animals, our children and leave.  I decided that if God cleaned my slate and forced me to change everything in my world, well, He must have a very good reason for it.

I will be praying for those that lost everything today while I pray that God decides that my slate does not need attention and that my world can be left as it is.  I have all night to pray as there is no way I can sleep.


  1. I will keep you and your family in my prayers friend - stay safe!
    The Idler.