May 2016

Seemingly Insignificant: Pieces from the Fort McMurray Fire Evacuation

We all have those moments when you do something without even realizing it.  It was you doing it, and you did the task willingly, but there was a brief disconnect between the conscious and subconscious for whatever reason.  For example, you’ve put your car keys somewhere other than where they normally go.  You remember having them in your hands and you remember putting them down, but for some reason you can’t remember where.  There must have been a reason, but you can’t seem to figure out what it is.  Hiding a gift for someone in a secret location, only to find out that the location was so secret, you can’t remember where you placed it.  Setting a reminder on your phone, only to forget what this nondescript reminder was supposed to remind you of.  Packing an item in your bag for a trip you were taking, but then never being able to figure out why you packed it in the first place.  Maybe you do know why you packed it after looking at it, but you don’t really remember grabbing it in the first place.

During the evacuation of Fort McMurray, there were thousands of people trying to leave the city all at once; thousands of bags packed in a hurry.  We were no different when the time came and felt the need to leave as quickly as possible.  Now that we’ve had a few days to sit and breathe, this got my wife, Diana Moser, and I thinking; what did we really end up packing?  I know we packed a lot of useful items – toothbrush, deodorant and a few sets of clothes.   When we looked through everything else, we were actually confused, amused, touched and mesmerized by some of the other things that made the cut.

I remember getting home in such a rush on the Tuesday of the evacuation.  By the time I walked through the door, I felt gross; saturated in smoke and sweat.  I ended up taking a quick shower as my wife finished packing a few of our bags (she did most of the packing as she was home a lot sooner than I was).  After a quick rinse, I got dressed as quickly as possible and helped her with loading the car.  Those moments were so frantic and feel like they happened so long ago, I barely remember them.  Before locking the door, I thought I could use a book to read as we weren’t sure how long we’d be gone.  I ran up the stairs, quickly grabbed one from the bedroom and put it into my bag.   It was only after arriving in Edmonton that I realized which book I had snagged on my way out the door.

For my birthday this year, my wife gave me two things as a gift; the first being a trip to Banff, and the other being a book.  While books can be a common gift idea, this particular one actually has some particular significance.  Recently, a writing course I was taking had me complete an assignment in crafting a story on a commonplace object (as discussed in a previous post – The Paperclip: Based on a True Story).  My wife liked the written piece so much that she got me a book that contains a collection of written pieces inspired by commonplace objects.  To me, this book is symbolic of my progression as a writer as well as the love and support she has given me as I continue to explore and develop my craft.  If I had to take one item, and one item only, I’m glad it was this one.

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Diana and I now invite you to share one of these stories yourself.  What made the cut in your bag?  What was that one item in your bag – that seemingly insignificant object that you grabbed on your way out?  What is its story; funny or sad?  How and why did it make its way into yours hands as you went out the door?

Provide a picture and description of your object of choice and then give a brief write up describing what made you bring this object with you, consciously or subconsciously.  Write ups should be no longer than 300 words.  Join our Facebook page at the link provided below.   Please be respectful – the purpose is to laugh, share and support each other.  Disrespectful comments and language will be removed.

Seemingly Insignificant: Pieces of the Fort McMurray Fire Evacuation

1 thought on “Seemingly Insignificant: Pieces from the Fort McMurray Fire Evacuation”

  1. What an insightful read… I always wonder what people take during a crisis and this was amazing to finally hear another side. I’ve always been someone that has a plan and I know exactly what I would take if anything every happened, at any time any where. I have always known. I think this stems from a tumultuous childhood but there’s something so beautiful to be said about those who never think of that. When in the heat of the moment and people are forced to make a decision of what matters. I find it amazing that Rosina had the clarity of kind to take photos of everything, and that Natalie had the true nature of a stage manager to grab her scripts. Beautiful . Thank you for sharing this:) forever we shall keep each other accountable for our thought. Love you and may the Fort Be with you.


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