A World in Flames
I realize this is a writer’s blog. I like to think it’s more about a writer’s life then just about the act of writing itself. Otherwise, this would be a pretty boring place and OCC/RWA is never boring. As such I decided to take this opportunity to blog about something I am a little too close to: smoke and flames.
On Sunday night, my family and I left the Orange hills in search of Chinese food. As we were driving we saw big plumes of smoke in the distance and thought “Oh no! Something is on fire.” On our way back from dinner it was dark and we could no longer see smoke. But we did turn on the TV to see what was going on. Malibu fires, San Diego fires, Agua Dulce fires and (as if that wasn’t horrifying enough), Santiago Canyon fires. I stayed with my parents and watched the news as towns where old schoolmates once lived fought for survival. My parents’ house is on a hill on one side of a valley. On the other side we can see Santiago Canyon Road, and parts of the 241 freeway. There are mountains, some closer then others. At around 9pm my sister shouted “look out the window” The entire right hand side of the mountain nearest ours was aflame. I’m not talking about smoke, I’m talking about bright orange flame.
After some debate my years of education paid off and I won an argument against my mother!
Her logic? It’s pretty far away.
My logic? You are about to sleep for eight hours. That fire has 40 mile-an-hour winds behind it, there is NO WAY that fire is eight hours away.
My father, a doctor, headed to the hospital just in case he was needed on hand. The rest of us evacuated to my apartment further north. As we drove away, two cars full of people, papers and clothes I could only be grateful
It wasn’t until we reached safety that we started thinking about all the things we hadn’t packed. A portrait of my grandmother, childhood momentos, irreplacable things that we could have packed quickly if it had occurred to us.
A lucky shift in the wind saved my childhood home, and I am grateful. But if there is one thing I’ve learned, there are two kinds of pain. There is the pain of the physical loss of a loved one, and also the pain of the emotional loss of a cherished memory.
In the days ahead, many people will face challenges. I urge you, and your families to think of what you cannot live without. Make a list, take pictures, do whatever it takes, but don’t leave yourself vulnerable to a double loss. Your home can be replaced, you and your memories, cannot.
Be safe, be well, and be careful.
Dana Belfry is an aspiring author and a proud member of the OCC/RWA. She happily lives near the beach, rollerblades as often as possible and constantly comes up with story ideas. She is currently working on a contemporary single-title. Visit Dana at her blog at http://www.danabelfry.com/blog/
Thanks everyone! Kaige, I’m thrilled to hear your family is okay. I read your hub’s blog in amazement!
*hugs* Dana. I’m so glad you’re OK and I pray that there’s a quick end to all this destruction.
I’m so happy to hear that you and yours are safe, and your family home escaped the flames.
I wouldn’t know where to start if I had to grab precious mementoes quickly… but I think if himself and the cats were safe that would be enough for me.
I’m glad everything worked out well for you, Dana.
I hope they get the fires out soon and that everyone in the affected areas will be safe.
Glad to hear of your family’s good fortune, Dana!
You’re so right about the two types of pain. We lost a good bit of stuff in a house fire in ’99, and so much of it was replaceable. The three dogs we lost still causes heartbreak. We lost some cherished memories and items in that fire, but it wasn’t as devasting as those that ripped through our community of Rancho Bernardo this week. We’re hoping to be home by Friday, but the most optimistic map had the evacuation line going through our house. So we’re still in wait and see mode up here in Anaheim.
Lil, I don’t spell check blog comments! LOL.
Sabrina, there is nothing shmooopy about being organized and prepared! Good for you!
And thanks Chrissy, we appreciate the support!
Sorry, I’m having a bad spelling day! But really, you know you and all my friends in SoCal in in my thoughts.
Hugs!! Several of my friends lost homes in the recent Tahoe fire. It’s just devistating.
I will add my voice in prayer for everyone in SoCal. Been watching the coverage and worrying about friends all day.
You are SO right about losing mementos.
For me I have the most precious photos of my family in my hallway so if I have to run out the door I can grab them off the wall. But if for any reason I did have to leave everything behind I have cherished memories that I keep in my heart. Yeah its a little schmoopy but true. I do hope everyone is safe.
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