It’s nine days after our house burned down along with the neighborhood in California, and my parent’s (and I, I suppose) became evacuees.
In all honesty – from the many times that we evacuated in Bear Valley I always thought headquarters would burn. I was prepared for everything to go, and because I was mentally prepared – it didn’t seem so bad when wildfires threatened the valley. But TOWN! This was something totally different and unknown. Because in town, you are supposed to be safe – and even though our family isn’t the kind to even ask for help – you at least expect the firemen to show up when your world is burning down around your ears.
As I watched flames go licking their way around what had been my great grandparents home, I realized although I was already planning on leaving in the next few days for another world of adventure in a new place – my parents were just starting their journey.
Last night, in a little rough hewn cabin hours from the nearest town – I start a fire in a woodburning stove (DEAR GOD I HATE THAT SMELL NOW) and began to go through my possessions that made it out of the fire. I found a few bits, my chinks and spurs (YAY!) some leftover hats with “MAKE AMERICA COWBOY AGAIN” proudly embroidered on them and a saddle.
I repack everything in the truck, placing the clothes I will actually wear (not the party dress that made it out somehow) into two small totes, the front seat.I check my guns, ammo that was stockpiled in my camper, water and food supplies. I check tire pressure, reassure myself that chains, and a spare along with my floor jack are in their places. I mourn the loss of CD’s, merchandise, guitars and the family piano that was built in 1904.
I finally laughed when I realized my stash of hair extensions (Literally a bunch of fake hair that I loved) was now frazzled and burned somewhere in Southern California. I giggle, let my natural shoulder length mess down and enjoy how free it feels. I don’t think I will buy anymore.
I wash my face at the first truck stop, scrubbing and scrubbing to try and get the smell of smoke off of my body, but my clothes are still permitted with the stench of our world going up in flames. A woman washing her hands looks at my dark circles, bruises around my wrists and (apparently) worn out look and says “it gets better honey I promise.” I giggle and thank her, there is no use explaining. The loss, the fear and the genuine terror of the past week has turned into an almost giddy hysteria fuled by coffee and the ciggeretts that I am allowing myself just at this time. Because I’m stressed damnit.
Then I start big blue, and drive away.
It’s time to start anew.
When I hit the turn off to the dirt road and my cell service begins to disappear, I start laughing. By myself in my truck, laughter turns into tears and I cry all the way to the river,allowing myself a moment of weakness. The tears start up again when I see the old cabin, they are familiar and comforting and when you feel so alone. Like an old friend.
I gun the lil pickup forward and smile when I hear the dogs barking my welcome.
What a beautiful feeling, coming to a home.
To be continued….