The Smoke of a Distant Fire

A riddle: When you surround it, memories are created. When it surrounds you, memories are lost. What is it?

Zion NP_Watchman Campground_Campfire_Sepia


With multiple fires raging across the Los Angeles area, a friend of mine advised me to, “have a suitcase with valuables ready to go,” after I sent a couple of photos of the smoke looming over my commute:

Smoky Sky_12.5.17

While I took my friend’s warning seriously, I didn’t know where to start. So instead of packing up my personal belongings, I created even more by taking these photos from my roof instead:

Then I sat down to watch TV.

Then the power went out.

As I sat in the near-dark (two old candles flickering pale shadows from their shortened wicks), I contemplated a few things:

  • What might happen if I feel asleep and an earthquake knocked over my candles.
  • What I should be packing.
  • How I would get my car out of the garage during an emergency, through the electric gate (yes, there’s a hand crank; it takes forever and it’s really difficult).
  • How sleepy I felt.
  • The thousands of displaced people, their burned homes, and what they wished they had packed.
  • That the thing most people regret losing are usually lost memories (photos, and mementos that represent people, places and events lost to time).
  • How Campfire Tales, meant to host conversations centered around our memories (like gathering around a campfire will do), now also fulfills the added function of preserving my memories and photos.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by this terrible tragedy. May you soon find shelter, peace, and restoration.

6 thoughts on “The Smoke of a Distant Fire

  1. Excellent post, Camp Host Chad!
    Those are great, in the moment, thoughts.
    Bizarrely, I think it aids our happiness to contemplate disaster. Done right, it helps us to be thankful, compassionate and empathetic to others, as well as other useful things like being prepared!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost so much in these tragic fires. Yet we remember our loved ones who are safe and we look forward to sitting around a campfire sharing the moment with them.

    Liked by 1 person

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