I must have been dreaming. I sat up immediately and begin to smell the air, alternating between breathing into my pillow and deeply inhaling the air in our room, searching for the smell of smoke again. I eventually got up and slid open the window just a crack, enough to smell test the air outside. Resolved it was just a dream, I went back to sleep, but not a very deep sleep. I blame watching the news last night.
I have not had to deal with this kind of threat before. Living on the ever-humid East Coast, the threat of a spark igniting your entire community is nearly nonexistent. Even though the fires in Northern San Diego county are over 30 miles away, I can’t help but to be paranoid that we could also suddenly be evacuated here at any moment. This wouldn’t be from the San Diego fires of course, but all it takes is a single spark, a cigarette butt thrown from the window of a passing car. The Santa Ana winds we’ve been having lately don’t help either; everything is so, so dry. The 104˚ temperature is another culprit. So while I’m clearly out of harm’s way at this moment, the threat is ever looming, and very scary to think about.
There have been wildfires around us several times in the year that we have lived here. The Colby Fire in Los Angeles County a few months ago was close enough that we could see the smoke darken the sky. Many times I have made a mental list in my head of the things I would grab on my way out of the door if we were ever to receive a notice to evacuate. This reminds me of “The Burning House,” a blog dedicated to photograph submissions of what people would prioritize if they could grab things on the way out of their burning home.
What would I grab if I only had an hour to pack a few things?
What if I only had 30 minutes?
What if I only had 5?
Inspired by “The Burning House” and with previous preparation in mind, I gathered together the few things I would make sure to grab from our apartment if a situation ever arose that required us to leave quickly.
Other than a couple of photos of myself with my grandmother when I was a child, this is all that I would grab. (I would have included the photos in this but they are currently packed away.)
- Cell Phone
- My Grandmother’s Ring
- Prescription Glasses
- SD Card & Reader
- External Hard Drive
- Michael Kors bag
- Macbook Pro
- Folder of Important Documents (birth certificates, car title, etc)
It’s interesting to think about what things would be most important to you in a moment of panic. I’m actually quite pleased with the fact that I don’t have too many material possessions that I would be devastated to lose. Photos can be reprinted and “things” can be re-bought. What would you take with you?