I live in Southern California and last week with only moments warning, we were told we had to evacuate due to fast-moving fires which were within a mile of our house. Having moved to California from Florida four years ago, I understood danger. We had dodged three major hurricanes and the final one flung us across the coast. Maybe it’s the continuous beautiful weather here which makes me feel safe or maybe it’s my perpetual state of denial, but I never thought I would find myself again at the edge of another natural disaster.
Needless to say I wasn’t prepared. My papers were not in order and my manuscripts were scattered on my desk and vital papers filed appropriately in my filing cabinet, but not together. Thank goodness, my husband is quite organized and he had the passports and insurance papers all in one file.
My packing was more sentimentally-motivated. I quickly thought of what was not replaceable. I grabbed my portable laptop. It held all correspondences, manuscripts and contacts. Next, I thought of all the family photos and evidence of raising three children. I piled the albums into a large plastic box. Then I thought of my journal collection spanning more than 40 years and wondered if they should take up valuable trunk space. Surely they were not replaceable, but I or anyone else would care if they got burned? I left them behind.
Now after returning home, I wonder if I made the right decision to leave all my journal musings behind.
Do any of you have any thoughts on this? What would you have packed if you were just given moments to get out of your house?