I could smell smoke in my house last night. I felt uncomfortable about this, even though living in the country, the smell of smoke is not unusual. It is the second day of summer now and the country-side is very vulnerable to bush fires. We had a very wet winter that caused the grasses and undergrowth to grow better than ever. Once the rains stop, it begins to dry out and become potential fuel for a bush fire.
Nearly forty homes were lost just over a week ago within a fifty kilometre of my home (Margaret River). There is also bushfire burning within seventy kilometers (Nannup) in a different direction. People close by to the fire were advised to evacuate. It is usually the best course of action in this situation.
Over my back fence there is a stretch of native bushland. I have a great view of it from my kitchen. Last night I wondered if it had caught fire! The smell of smoke was so strong and seemed so close. It got me to thinking about what I would do, if I had to evacuate my home in a hurry. It made me realise that, even though I have filled a suitcase with many irreplaceable items, I was unsure if I would grab that or think more practically and taking some clothes for the immediate future.
This morning I gave it some serious thought: what would I really want to rescue if I had to leave in an emergency? I found I have 4 places where I store my ‘precious’ bits and pieces. I emptied them all on the floor in my office and had a more serious look at what I valued most. I will share with you, some of the items I would be very sad to lose.
- the cards and other items received from my partner over the past 8 years
- Mother’s Day cards from my sons from many years back – some hand-made, but all are precious. One son gave me a card a couple of years ago congratulating me on successfully making him a nice person 🙂
- a picture of the Last Supper with my name on it. I received it for my First Communion. I am not a Catholic today but that picture meant so much to me when I was little
- the odds and ends each of my lads made for me when they were at school
- a medal for my youngest son for his high achievement in science
- two years of hand written letters from my Mum – written every week or two over 1982 to 1984 when I was a long way from home
- my first published piece of writing – would you believe it was on the tenth of November in 1968? I was fourteen at the time and I was very bored with no entertainment in town for local teenagers, so I wrote a letter to the paper and made my point and they printed it!!!
- some baby things I couldn’t throw out including, a singlet for my second son, born in a Melbourne hospital – see photo
- a little dress that was made for me as a baby – it is so tiny – was I really that small once?
- I have the death notice from the Melbourne paper, for the last man hanged in Australia. That was on the 3 February 1967. He was related to a local family and I went to school with his niece. It was the first time in my life that I remember being so passionately against something in our society. It may sound ghoulish to keep this, but it was an important event in my life.
- I have lots of different name badges from various places I have worked – they bring back memories of my first steps in my working life.
So, what do you think you would take, if anything, if you were told to evacuate your home in an emergency? Maybe you have experienced this in reality?
There is no smoke near my house this morning and for that I am grateful. I do feel for those affected by these fires.