Staying Home

Last night we got the call. “The evacuation alert has been rescinded.”

For one horrible moment, I saw myself running around, gathering up the emergency stuff that two sleeps at home had kind of spread around. I saw myself sliding my laptop back into its bag, making sure the dog’s lunch kit was packed, lugging our espresso machine back out to the car (!) and making sure the espresso stuff was gathered up and shoved into the supplies box. That all our documents and credit cards and cel phones and the cameras we were bringing were at hand. The car keys. The shrimp ring in the freezer (I was annoyed with myself for forgetting it last time. If you have to be evacuated, you may as well eat shrimp). All the good cheeses. The bottle of red wine I’ve been saving. The candles. The partner. The dog.

The caller heard me having my bad moment. She understood its cause. (Or maybe she just thought I didn’t know what “rescind” was.)

“The alert,” she said. “It’s been rescinded. The fire isn’t out, but it’s completely under control. You’re no longer in any danger.”

When I got off the phone and told David, we both smiled, but we didn’t whoop and we didn’t rejoice. Even with the helicopters flying over, at some level we’d already gleaned we weren’t going anywhere. The heart understands when it’s safe sometimes. Sometimes, it just knows.

Today we have big plans. We want to walk along the waterfront and see what we can see without getting in the way. Later on, we’re going to go to the local Freecycle. The box I’m taking is already half full. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this, it’s that I have lot of stuff that I don’t need.

Comments

Sandra Ruttan said…
Linda, this is fantastic news. I'm so relieved for you, and can't really imagine how you must feel! When you feel up to it, can you give us a sense of the impact for the other islanders?
Since we've been home, we've seen photos of the burn site and it turns out that, with the trajectory of the wind and all, our house was in the most danger. I'm glad I didn't know that at the time. Somehow that would have made it worse.

We've now walked fairly close to where the biggest part of the fire was. There are still crews working in there and I imagine they will be for a while yet, but there's no panic in the way they're working. I think now it's just head-down-get-it-done kind of stuff. And it rained here the other day. It just poured for about an hour. I can't imagine a whole island full of people being so relieved to see strong moisture from the sky.

Like a lot of things, the impact will be quite personal, I think. Some people are trying hard to point fingers, others are praying to various dieties, sending thanks or hoping for more rain. Some of us (here's me) are sad for the loss and a little frightened for the effects of that little eco-system. And what about the dear that live there? The squirrels? The snakes? The bazillions of bugs? It's renewing though, isn't it? Fire, I mean. Once you deal with the loss, everything comes back beautiful after a while. Everything comes back better than before. That's what I tell myself.

That and the fact that it was lovely to have a home to come back to!
shelley said…
Heh. You wrote 'dear' instead of 'deer'; however, I like thinking of us that live here as 'dears'! (and speaking of deer, there do seem to be more nibbling on our garden lately than usual - I think they're evacuees too.) I'm still a bit twitchy whenever I hear a helicopter fly overhead though. . . .
Shelley said, "You wrote 'dear' instead of 'deer'."

What kind of brain fart was that? And you're right about the helicopters. It seems like they've been worse today, as well.

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