September 8th, 2010, 10:10 AM
One Day After the Fire
Thanks so much for your kind wishes. I’m in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and driving to Bozeman today. It is indeed surreal to own only what is in my car. Through some twist of fate or prescience, I grabbed my birth certificate before I left home (I don’t typically take this on vacation) along with my back up drive for my computer. So all my precious writing and work (except for thirty years of journals) is safe.
And I am safe. My most precious thing in the world, my Nellie Dog, is here with me, curled up in the bed in the Holiday Inn, wondering why her mom is so freaked out.
Here is the good news in all this strangeness. A year ago I went into my local insurance company office to talk to them about a new car insurance policy. My agent, being smart, talked me into updating my homeowner’s policy. First time in 20 years. Girls — run, do not walk, to your files and check your insurance.
So I am actually up to date with my insurance. This was an odd flash of grown-up-ness that I rarely exhibit. I also had all my jewelry appraised at the same time, so that’s all on file in the appraiser’s office. Again, what grown up temporarily took over my body and made me do that? I am grateful.
Here is the really strange thing — I have been through this before. When I was 12 our family home in Chicago burned to the ground. I remember walking around in the smoldering ruin, realizing that every single thing we had was gone. My mother was devastated; my father was philosophical. After that we became a family of non-collectors. We knew it could all disappear at any moment, and that the really important stuff was not “stuff.” And I also know I will miss my “stuff.” Things hold energy and memories, and I remember as a teenager saying, “Oh, where’s my …Oh, yeah. Gone in the fire.” I do not look forward to that process.
How can you help? Send me your good wishes. Emails are great; they make me feel loved. Don’t tell me to look on the bright side, because one of the stages of grief is anger, and I’m frankly feeling pretty pissed off about all this. I’m also going to have to rebuild my whole freaking house, and I don’t have a clue. So your building expertise would be helpful; contractors, etc. When I get to that point.
Right now I’m pretty much in shock and have a couple thousand miles to drive over the next few days. I have a cabin in Yellowstone for two nights, at Old Faithful. So I’m going to go there and watch the geysers shoot steam into the sky and wonder about the primordial cycles of creation and destruction. I guess I’m in the belly of the beast, yes? Geysers show you that there is fire just under our feet at all times; hot lava waiting to burst forth. Creating, destroying; it all goes round. God, the world is a strange place.
So today I’ll pack up my hotel room and charge up my phone and call my poor mother and tell her that I’m doing it again; picking up after my own house fire, just like she did. But you know, I’m a grown-up with a job and a credit card, and like they say in Lake Wobegon, things could be worse.
Let’s have a potluck when I get back and people can give me very small tokens of their affection – maybe small beautiful objects to symbolize starting a new life. That would be fun. I will be in need of fun.
Thank you again for all your love, support and good wishes. I really do feel it. And don’t let my cavalier cheerfulness fool you – I am a mess right now.
Yours in Messiness,