We wondered in the threat of this fire looming over us, if all that we drive away from we can live without, should we downsize more? Sure, the couch, table and desk are nice commodities that I don’t want to live without. A comfy bed, comforters and pillows make life (and sleep) happen more easily. When I went to work and D stayed with the kids, I had to dig clothes out of my car. We all did. Before I left for work, I had to make sure everyone had what they needed for the 10 hours I was gone. But it wasn’t what we had packed that made the biggest impact. It was what remained.
Living in a house with what didn’t make “the cut” for two days was an interesting experience. These were the things we didn’t deem important enough to get put in the car. When I showered on the night we packed, standing by ready at the helm, I was sad that I just bought toilet paper, shampoo, soap and toothpaste. I even splurged for the $2.49 soap and not the cheaper natural option. I might be leaving these things behind, but that didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate their value. Jewelry, clothes, shoes, furniture, toiletries. Things I would miss that would need to be replaced.
Day two wasn’t much better that it’s predecessor. The fire was moving quickly, consuming 3600 acres now, with winds feeding the fury. 22 homes lost and 17 outbuildings – half that comprised of barns. There were 22 families that would return to nothing but the burnt fragments of a life I assumed they loved. Memories that wouldn’t be replaced, sentiment passed down in story only. All gone. My heart felt heavy for these families. We had the time to load the containers protecting our Christmas items, the kids hope chests and our pre-digital scrapbooked memories. Everything that held sentimental value that could fit in a car and the bed of a truck was packed.
Living in what remained was an emotional process in letting go of things that are replaceable. That are unnecessary but wanted. Items that bring us a level of comfort and togetherness because we value their usefulness. The threat of the fire was stopped 5.5 miles from us and just over a mile from our daughters house who did evacuate. We were able to unpack our belongings and move them back into our house. It did teach us even more what we really use, what is valued the most, what we’d like to replace and what things we can live without. We have downsized since our pseudo evacuation and we know within a few months we will downsize more. We have more of a plan on how to tweak our minimalistic lifestyle to make it even more our own, creating more adventures, less stress, less cleaning, more memories. It’s a relief knowing who you are is not tied to what you own, but who you share your time with.