Evacuating Your Home: What It Feels Like

The cities of Phoenix and Talent, next to Medford, have been burnt to the ground in the historic wildfires that raced through the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.

When wildfires threatened my home, and my family, we had to flee from our southern Oregon community of Medford. At the same time a new reality dawned upon us; climate change was coming faster than anyone predicted.

It wasn’t that my wife and I didn’t believe in climate change. We just naively thought it was something our grandchildren had to face. The fact that the entire West Coast of America is now on fire has cast cold water on that theory.

There’s more signs across the planet that point to climate change, but we’re dealing with the worst air quality on the planet here in Medford, Oregon, and it’s got my undivided attention.

How we got here is no longer important. The dystopian future of famous fiction writers is reality. I look at the bruised orange sky from my backyard during the day and wonder if I’ll ever see blue skies again.

When my wife and I had to flee our home last week after a Level 3 warning of impending wildfires, it was a first in our forty-six years of marriage. As we raced to an evacuation center at the Jackson County Expo grounds, the fire followed us north in a shower of flaming sparks until we arrived safely at the designated sanctuary near Central Point.

We arrived with our five animals – three cats and two dogs – packed into our Nissan King cab pickup truck alongside family photo boxes, important papers, and food and water for us and the animals, and parked alongside 500 other vehicles containing refugees like ourselves. Most of us stayed in our vehicles because of the fear of COVID-19 inside the Red Cross refugee center.

My wife and I sat up all night. We couldn’t sleep. The thought that our house was burning, like hundreds of others, was a nightmare. When we found out that it was safe to come home we were relieved to find that our our house, and neighborhood, still stood.

I wish that I could properly recount my feelings. All I can say is that it’s a surreal feeling not knowing what happened to your home. You go for a ride on a roller coaster of fears that leave you weak and exhausted… until you find out that everything you owned was not destroyed by the fires engulfing the state you live in.

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A Brief Look at Redemption

He rocks back-and-forth on the rickety wicker porch chair. He’s everyman, late in life with wrinkles distorting a once smooth face, and body. His life wasn’t spent seeking redemption in real time. His subconsciousness never gave a hint of being interested in the subject.

Memories did sometimes rudely intrude upon his daily routine and reality. As a combat veteran he was intimately acquainted with death. The sight. The smell. The moment he fired at a human being. The horror.

But he just keeps on rocking in his wicker chair every day, a modern response to Old Man River who just kept rolling on.

He isn’t plagued with regrets on not being “saved” by any religion, or by being led to redemption like a sheep on the way to being sheared.

Freedom is his redemption for being alive and having survived many perilous times in his long life. His arthritis a badge of honor. His physical scars medals earned during a long life of adventures. His silver hair a crown of achievement.

He makes no claims of having redeemed others from sins and stupid moves in their lives. He never wanted to lead others to the top of any proverbial mountain. He’s unaware of ever being anyone’s leading light in life.

He just keeps on rocking in his wicker chair every day, a modern response to Old Man River who just kept rolling on.

the end

A Word For My Readers and Fellow Scribes/Bloggers

It’s been a good year for continuity as I’ve been able to post something – a poem or flash fiction – every day since January 1st, 2019. It’s crazy to think I’ve passed the halfway mark of this year, and am still slogging along – for better, or worse.

I want to take this moment to acknowledge my readers and fellow scribes/bloggers for stopping by and visiting. Your interest makes this blog possible. I’m currently at 286 followers and counting…

About some of my followers/fellow scribes:

One of my favorite followers and fellow scribe has a blog called FictionistaFlash Fiction/Musing of Darnell Cureton

Another favorite follower (ahh heck! They’re all my favorite followers!) is the blog called Monkey’s Tale that features fellow scribes Richard and Maggie, from Calgary, Canada.

Another favorite follower, Matthew Richardson (from England) is a prolific and much-published writer. His blog has a little of everything from haiku’s to short stories.

Another delightfully diverse blog is Ray of Sunshine with beautiful poetry by fellow scribe Priyamvada.

Another fellow scribe and prolific writer is H.K. Gayshir whose blog artpends offers daily poetry and art.

Another fellow scribe, Melody Chen, has a blog called HEARTBEATINGWINGS with inspirational poetry

I have a list of other great blogs that I highly recommend checking out on the right hand side of this page under BLOGS I FOLLOW.

To my readers and fellow scribes/bloggers,

Thank You for your interest, encouragement, and camaraderie

Write On!

Desert of Deceit

Burnt sands cover the liescape stretching between truth and deceit buried deep in a person’s mind. A desert of deceit. Unhindered by any convention, yet still possessing a conscience that sometimes asks questions about morality and sensuality.

Falsehoods, like scorpions and snakes, strike swiftly in the seething sands of a liar’s mind whose mission is to deceive. The liar’s soul, burnt by dwelling in the bronzed wasteland of duplicity, is shriveled and crispy.

There are those who dwell in this sandy hell by choice. Content to wander dunes of deceit. Content to live a lie. Content to vilify. Souls that were born bone dry. For these nomads in society, I have no pity.

My Bangkok Tour Guide

Essay – 246 words

While walking down a street in the Kingdom of Thailand where ex-pats from around the world land, blending seamlessly into the local 1970 economy, I met a young boy with a man’s eyes.

He was probably ten – going onto forty – with worldly knowledge far beyond his tender years. Anuia was a frail street waif with the wisdom of the local marketplace for sale. He promised the best place to stay, my drug of choice, and prostitutes with breathless beauty, if I hired him throughout my stay.

We toured a banana plantation, and a red light district called
Pattaya, with outrageous sex acts they were not even considered risqué in the day. Creedance Clearwater Revival rocked the bars with “Looking Out My Backdoor.” I smoked some of the best weed in my life, comparing it to the Vietnamese strain that made you forget your name.

We watched kick fighter’s knock each other out, only to get up afterwards and respectfully bow to one another. Anuia shared his best curse words to get quick results, and bargained over every transaction like it might be his last. He was shrewd and a survivor, with no parents or family.

The thing that impressed me the most was he was always smiling – except when he negotiated a deal. His smile seemed to defy the life he led. When my time was up, and I had to go, he shook my hand, then turned to greet another group of visitors deplaning nearby.

Poetic Tips To Writing Your Autobiography

Let me state for the record that I haven’t written my autobiography and you’d probably be smart not to listen to me

because you continue to read this missive promising a positive evaluation of your life by simple grammatical manipulation, it’s time for exploration

What is the one thing you want people to remember you for? One glorious achievement or more? Begin your tome with tales of yore

when you sailed the seas of life and road the winds of strife, and how you were a good husband, or wife

Make sure to save space for those favorite songs that always took you to another place

Let the world know how unique you are even though you’re not famous or a movie star

another consideration is when you go on a writing spree who do you think your readership will be?

don’t forget to share your friends and family in this autobiography if you don’t want people to think your writing a hagiography

On Healing

50 words –

There are wounds that we can see and others invisible to the naked eye, but both can make us cry.

Physical wounds leave tell-tale scars on the body. Physic wounds hide in the head, leaving the victim with a constant state of dread.

Faith can cure both and raise the dead