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  • Lyana Pearson

Reminder of What Really Matters

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

Watching the billowing smoke fill the sky just northeast of home and—hours later—raging flames dancing ever closer over the ridges to the west, I assessed what I’d packed to take with me. It felt surreal and heartbreaking to hear explosions in the midst of those flames, so close you could smell materials that once were homes and businesses we pass every day.

To know the belongings and comfort I’ve held so preciously could be gone in a very short period of time. Making the decision to leave behind irreplaceable items. With kitty carriers at the ready and a few of the most important items, I took one last look at the original painting from a dear friend of mine, the years of esoteric notebooks and binders, and picked up the kitty litter box (the last item to go to my car before grabbing kitties).

Mother Gaia and her elements remind us of what really matters. My heart goes out to all who’ve lost their homes in the Boulder fires and swells in witness to a loving community coming together to offer assistance.

We’d been watching the news updates, the Broomfield Police twitter, the ever-changing evacuation maps, and firsthand view of the fire approaching. It was time to go. The black, brown, blue, and white wall of smoke we’d been watching all day had grown to envelop the entire sky. Darkness had begun to fall and we could see bright flames leaping high just over the next ridge.

A generous friend in Longmont had reached out and offered sanctuary for us and our four cats. We drove away from the fire with the knowledge that we may never return. She offered a room, lovingly prepared food, and comforting company as we waited and watched from afar.

It kept running through my mind that our home would be safe, though the evacuation map continued to close in around our complex; a little yellow bubble in the midst of so much red. We were told that the map wasn’t refreshing properly and now 20 miles away, became even more restless.

Snow was predicted and I prayed for the weather to start early.

It was midnight when I saw the relieving news that we could return to our home.

You could still see smoke on the horizon and smell toxic fumes in the air as we walked our pets back up the stairwell to their home.

I am deeply grateful to have my own home, my own bed to slip into, electricity and running water. I am also deeply saddened for those who no longer have a home to return to (at least one coworker among them). It lifts my heart to see the influx of community who are rushing forward to assist.

The choices I made about what to bring with me and what to leave behind deepen my understanding of what really matters. Life. Creatures, friends, family, and community.

For more inspiration 👉 @rephraselife on Instagram.

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