I am woken by heller winds, the thick smell of smoke…and my light being turned on as I am woken up and told to pack up all my belongings. Groot Constantia is being evacuated. The Cape fires raged through the vineyards overnight. They are now less than 500m away. We collect our most valuable items together, which of course means my bike and pack up the cars ready for the signal to leave. Cape Town hasn’t experienced such fires since 2000 and so these were right on cue.
Sitting here, waiting, hoping the wind is in our favour, I can’t help but stop and think: what would I be taking out if I were evacuating my own home? We spend so much time and money on materialistic goods, when you look at everything you own you really start to think about what can and cannot be replaced.
Family homes like this hold the most amazing memories, moments no longer tangible, but yet so clear in our minds. It is the space, not that which is inside it, that carries such fond memories. I couldn’t bear the thought of watching a home go up in flames right before my eyes.
It’s moments like this that give us a chance to stop and think about the here and now alone. What can we do right now to help this situation? It’s only when you are totally focussed on this exact moment that you realise what is most important to you. Those clothes and furniture vanish in favour of family, pets and memorabilia. Perhaps this is a great reminder to us all that life can change in an instant, so spend your days filled with those things, those people, that cannot be replaced.
Make the most of each second. Cherish those moments.
Thoughts go out to all those families across Cape Town affected by these terrific fires.