Colorado burning….

This week the Colorado wildfires came to Boulder. Not with the same devastating consequences as the fires to the north and to the south, no structures or lives lost here.  We are very, very fortunate.

But it was enough to cause some anxiety for many in this area and for me to have the car packed, ready to go from Tuesday for the rest of the week. They evacuated the other side of the road but not mine.

Fire cresting the ridge

What do you do in circumstances like this? How do you decide what to take? What do think you would take? What have you taken?

There is a well-known question:

‘What 3 things would you save from your house if you had to leave in a hurry?’ which in turn can make an interesting writing prompt:

Journal Prompt

Imagine that you had only minutes to grab 3 things from your home – what would you choose? Why?

Write about each object (animate? inanimate?) in turn – describe it, write about its history, its importance in your life, what it means to you.

What you do take in the crisis moment may well be different from what you think you might take. In 1990 we really were evacuated because of fire – the 3 things we took: passports, baby & computer. This week I was in the situation of having to make the decision for someone else as well and it’s not easy.

In Nadine Gordimer‘s most recent novel a family begins packing to emigrate:

What each of the four – Jabu, Steve, Sindi, Gary Elias – finds can’t be left behind is an insight into what they don’t know about each other.

No Time like the Present p379

There was nothing, nothing he wanted that it is possible to  transport.

 ibid p380

Grateful for the lake across the road.

I want to thank everybody who offered me a place to stay if I did have to leave, and all those who heard about the fire and asked after our safety and well-being. Your thoughts were appreciated. To see a time-lapse film of the fire in Boulder click here. For the moment all is well. Thank you.


8 thoughts on “Colorado burning….”

  1. Thank you all for these comments and for sharing some of your thoughts here. These are really existential questions.


  2. It’s always devastating to hear of the trauma and upheaval associated with natural events. I think of Katrina and the horrific times after that storm. Just surviving is important sometimes. Since I have a son with autism spectrum disorder who is now 26, I have nightmares about the possibilities for his own future in times of crisis. I try to create such a scenario and find a blessed answer. People that reach out and help each other. That’s mostly what I would want to hold on to. And your prompt, Kate, about the 3 things that I would grab in the moments that I knew I had to evacuate in a hurry… I would make sure that my family gained safety first, family pets second, and perhaps that’s all I would have time for.

    I certainly wish for rain for all those places now needing it. And care for areas that are dry during the upcoming holiday period. And help everywhere as we as humans realize that we can care with meaning.


  3. Kate, I used to use that prompt when I taught journal writing. I’ve thought a lot about that prompt lately as I’ve watched the news of the fires and the residents leaving their homes. When it comes down to it, what really matters except for our family (which includes pets)? All this stuff doesn’t mean a thing except for maybe a couple irreplaceable items from loved ones now gone. But even those don’t matter in the end. So glad you’ve not had to evacuate and hope you continue to be safe.


  4. Thanks both of you – it is a salutary lesson, it does focus the mind in some way. I’ve been evacuated twice in the past (in Santa Barbara & here) so every time I’m not evacuated feels like third time lucky.


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