I Want to Go Home

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The other day I had the privilege to visit a friend up in Woodland Hills. They’re home now – no longer evacuated. The fall leaves greeted us, as my mom and I drove up the winding mountain side.

Autumn.

It’s my favorite time of year. When we pulled up to the house, I stepped out into the crisp air. It’s always cooler in the mountains… something Mom and I are familiar with. I looked around at the surrounding trees and took a deep breath… trying to take it all in.

Home.

That’s what it felt like. It’s the closest we’ve gotten to feeling like home in the past two weeks. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to cling to that mountain side and pretend that everything was “normal” again.

But we couldn’t. We had to leave. And all too soon we were driving back off the mountain.

We have been evacuated for two weeks now. The fire is still looming above our homes, only half a mile out of reach. The firefighters are waiting for the fire to creep down a little further so they can actually fight it. With the steep terrain, it is impossible for planes to fly low enough to have any effect on the fire. So we rely on helicopters, the firefighters’ preparations, and God to provide favorable weather. And we continue to wait with bated breath…

On Sunday, we were able to go visit our home for 30 short minutes. It was the first time I had been back in the two weeks of evacuation. As we walked through our home, it felt gloomy. Depressing even. The pictures were gone, and things were strewn about from leaving so hastily. The kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes and the food in the fridge had begun to rot. Without thinking, I went to the sink and began washing the dishes. Mom and my husband Grant, started to clean out the rotting food in the fridge… and then we left our home once more.

It’s hard to be away. Especially since this is my favorite time of year. Normally, we are going on four-wheeler rides through the autumn leaves. Normally, Mom and I are starting to get excited about Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas. (Yes, we know we are slightly crazy — crazy fun that is!) Normally, we are sitting on our back deck, enjoying the crisp mountain air that fills our nostrils.

How I wish things were back to “normal.”

How I wish we could just go home…

Love, Shalee

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