We were expecting to have a quiet Labor Day week. I was going to rest for the weekend, then work through the week. The family was going to have home school then spend time in the outdoors. My son James was going to learn how to tan hides.1I don’t know. I just say yes to whatever.
Like in February, when we traveled to Arizona for Spring Training just as the COVID pandemic was starting to manifest, we asked all the right questions before we left for camp. The fire seemed too far north to make a difference. We weren’t planning to do a lot of travel once we got there.
It wasn’t until we got to the crest of the road, just before we hit camp, that a different reality confronted us. If nothing else, we could see the fire. Still, no evacuation orders for our area had been made. Discussions were had. We left everything in the car. We would sleep the night, and reassess in the morning. The prevailing wisdom was that the fire would move away from camp.
We woke up in the morning to this:
The world was Trump-colored. The smoke was thick, like living in a fire pit. And there were reports that fire was no more than two or three miles away.
The decision to evacuate was not a difficult one. Indeed, we were half an hour ahead of the official order. We were grateful to be blessed with the logical reasoning skills necessary to properly assess risk and danger, and act accordingly. All our family is safe.
The camp is under threat. For over 20 years, it has been a respite and escape for our family. But today is a reminder that such respites are under attack everywhere—physically, emotionally, spiritually—and no one is truly safe. There is nowhere to hide. And the problem won’t be solved by raking a few leaves, literally (as Trump insists, with regard to fires) or metaphorically (as Trump insists, with regard to everything else).
We must, of course, all be able to retreat to places of safety. Right now, we are with our family at the property that (if all goes well) will soon be our new respite, whether or not Camp Bullfrog falls. But we are again reminded that such moments of safety are transitory (at best), and only for the purpose of preparing ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead.