It’s Only Stuff


Smoke from wildfire. My home bottom left. If you look close, the 5th wheel is on the side of our home.

It’s only stuff, but hey I like my stuff.  More importantly, I like the choice of deciding what to do with “my stuff” on my terms.  A year and a half ago we downsized houses.  What does one do with years of accumulation?

The move was difficult, overwhelming, exhausting, but surprisingly liberating…. BUT not easy.  Furnishings and decor were divided into different categories;  keep, son, daughter, consignment shop, donate.  Although I have had some regrets, I realize with another impending move in our near future, ALL this stuff will need to be moved, stored, or disposed of.

smoke from the wildfire has turned the sky to an unrecognizable color

Less than 2 weeks ago, a wildfire was burning in the town of Wetmore, Colorado, a mere 35 miles away from our home.  As I stood outside with camera in hand, I felt ash falling on me, falling on the ground around me.  The air was thick with smoke making it difficult to breathe.  The sun was shaded with a dense layer of smoke, making the afternoon feel more like evening.  The always beautiful blue Colorado sky was unrecognizable.

Evacuations were ordered and other areas were put on standby for possible evacuation.  I look around my home.  I look at my photo albums, family portraits, art work, furnishings, nick naks…..”my stuff”.  If we have to evacuate, what do I pack?  What do I take?  What’s most important?

As I watch the news and see the remnants of “Sandy’s” aftermath, my heart goes out to those that have lost so much.  My heart goes out to the fourteen families in Wetmore, CO, whose homes were destroyed and animals lost.  The devastation of this summers  ravaging wildfire in Colorado Springs is still a fresh wound.


devastating aftermath, Colorado Springs wildfire

I’m grateful I get to decide what to do with “my stuff”.  So many, many folks didn’t have that choice.  My thoughts and prayers go out to those that have lost so much…..


23 thoughts on “It’s Only Stuff

  1. I can’t even imagine, I sat in my kitchen last night with a cup of coffee and watched the devastation on the east coast. I just felt so bad, then guilty for being comfortable in a warm house. Geez, what to do.

  2. I am thankful that you are okay. It will be a long time for those that lost everything on the east coast to have some sort of normalcy. I lost my stuff and home in Katrina. I have moved over a thousand miles from the coast, but the memories are still there and always will be. I did not lose anyone close in Katrina, but I know people who did. Some felt so much despair over their losses that taking their own lives was seen better, than trying to start over again. It won’t be easy, but with support from friends and strangers, it will be possible. Forest fires are different…sometimes you don’t have enough warning time to get what is important…just getting out, with the clothes on your back is precious…you still have your life. Losing someone can be devastating. Taking chances is not worth a life.
    Wonderful post and I thank you for the chance to comment. I still have my days, when I feel overwhelmed. Watching Sandy hit a populated area like New Orleans was hard. Hugs to all and Prayers to those dealing with the after effects of Sandy. 😉

    • Yes it is a very sad situtation and posses unbelievable challenges to many. You understand this first hand. At times, it’s difficult to comprehend.
      Thank you for commenting and hopefully the days of feeling overwhelmed are far and few between.

  3. It is indeed only stuff! My heart goes out to those impacted on the East Coast. We never missed the stuff that we let go when we start our new lifestyle nor do we even looked for stuff to buy /own when we go places.
    The material things that we collect thru out our lifetime are useless when we are gone. This was very much pronounced when i lost a friend to cancer. The stuff that she left behind became useless and meaningless. We can’t take with us our possessions but we can only leave our good character, great relationships and wonderful memories with each other.

  4. Only stuff indeed, but the devastation is still so awful, so sad that so many folks who are still so attached to stuff will have to cope with this major loss in their lives.

    Jim and I happen to be near Washington DC this week (we’re never out east!), and had to evacuate our rig because of the hurricane. While we were plenty tense, since this was the FOURTH time we’ve had to ditch our stuff because of weather-related catastrophes, we managed to gather our bearings pretty quickly. We have an evacuation list that boils down to about 12 things that are critically important to us, that’s it. Those 12 things and a couple of sacks of groceries fit into the back seat of our truck, along with our dog, and we split.

    Although it was daunting not knowing whether or not we would have a RV in the morning, the fact that we were safe and sound was all that mattered. We had no damage the next day, thank dog, but it’s yet one more lesson that stuff doesn’t matter in the end.

    Of course, having good insurance coverage also helps with my own piece of mind. . . .

    • Hi Rene, yes you two have definitely encountered your fair share of scary situations. Glad you and the rig weathered the storm ok. Thanks for stopping by. Will you be in the desert s/w this winter or hanging in TX? Safe travels 🙂

    • Definitely very scary and extremely sad. Hopefully you’re not getting too much snow or bad weather in your neck of the woods. Stay warm!

  5. I still feel a twinge in my gut at Christmas time. All mine, and my daughter’s Christmas tree ornaments and decorations were held by my ex. He refused to give them back to us, even though that “stuff” was meaningless to him. We had to accept it was just stuff. We cherish our moments now. 🙂 This is such a great reminder to appreciate all that we are given, including the blessings. Thank-you.

    • What a shame…..and unnecessary. I’m sure you and daughter are building new memories and momentos but it would be nice to have some from the past as well. Thanks for commenting!

  6. I feel for all of those people.. having lost everything in a flood in 2001, when our house was devastated by water… we never knew it was coming and had no time to get anything out… we lost everything, no wedding photos none of our kids growing up, none of our own early years, everything gone… but I have always said nothing can take away the memories,,,,, I had no one to bury and my insurance paid for all the new furniture etc… but it did make me realise that all these things were material belongings and the life around me is far more important… I do however now store copies of all my photos in other places….
    To the families that lost animals or family … my heart goes out to them…

    • Wow, so sorry to hear your tale. Obviously you know exactly what all these folks are going through. I’m at a loss for words…..I just can’t imagine….sad!

      • I sat on a chair and looked at my house waiting for the assessors.. feeling very sorry for myself… just then the helicopter came in and collected the body of a 2 year old child out of the river… what had I lost nothing… since then my household goods are meaningless to Linda and I… just our photos of the kids and grand kids taken since that day… everything else has no value to us now… just each other…

  7. You said, “What do I take? What’s most important?”
    This was so spot on, it made me remember.
    We were in Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) when more than a thousand homes burned, I think 2 thousand in total. We were evacuated and prepared, but in the end, you leave with yourself and family, your animals and photos. That’s it. You hunker together, shocked, but intact.
    We didn’t lose anything, but so many did. It does come as a shock, the touchstones you rely on, your home, your place, your memories and possessions , could be gone in five minutes.
    I suppose now this is happening to so many people on the east coast, and they are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones don’t make it through the storm, or even worse, had loved ones who didn’t.
    My thoughts go out to them, and to those everywhere who experience storms, fire or otherwise.
    This was a very sensitive post.

    • As I watch the news this morning and see all the images, I’m at a total loss as to what to say or do. You and I both know that sick gut feeling as a forest fire encroaches. We’ve been fortunate where others have not been. Just very, very sad 😦

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