4 a.m. I stand in our home, quivering, awakened from restless sleep. Nixle text: mandatory evacuation order. Power has been off for six hours. Our go-bags wait by the door, including the one for our dog, Bodhi.

Time to go. If we lose our home, what can I bring that fits in the car to help a new place feel familiar? I grab ten pieces of art from the walls–the gorgeous color-pencil drawings our friend Suzette did of our dogs, and two others. My laptop, so I can write. Coats. I check for device chargers.

This is the new reality. Brain adjusts, body resists, then gets in gear. Destination: friends in Petaluma, seventeen miles away. We take both vehicles and enter the parking lot of evacuees. An hour later, we’ve gone two miles.

Drivers are remarkably generous, letting others into the creeping auto stream from side roads. I see no road rage and am grateful. The updated Nixle notice comes in–my son, who doesn’t drive, must evacuate as well. My husband peels off to Santa Rosa to snag him and his go-bag.

It only takes me three hours to travel the seventeen miles. Charge the iPhone on the way. I’m welcomed with a sweet hug from our dear friend. Power has been cut to Petaluma as well, but the gas stove works. Warm tea! Five hours later, husband, son, and dog finally make it.

There is no complaining, only attention to what must be done–keep devices charged, eat food before it spoils, send love and best wishes for the well-being of people and creatures closer to the fire than we. Await Nixle updates. Breathe. Count blessings. Be present.


10 thoughts on “wildfire

  1. Amrita, Hi from downtown Petaluma, where I am staying with friend Sue. She actually has power. My days are spent between the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds with Sundance and a tent city full of Oregon firefighters, and pit stops at home where my water. Heater provides enough water for a short shower each day. I loved your piece and am relieved to hear from you. The description was powerful. You behaved bravely under fire my friend. I am glad to hear that Boudewijn, Raven and Bodhi are keeping the homefires warm. Big love. Drive safe. Patrice


    1. Thank you! Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. I’m at a retreat with Rupert Spira, not in the current fire zone. It’s in Burlingame, CA, about two hours from home. Boudewijn is holding down the home front.
      Sending you both hugs and love,


  2. Basheer

    All those hours on the road sound terrifying simply because you know you are trapped if fire comes. You have to hope the powers that be gave you plenty of time. And it seems that they did!


    1. Yes, it was scary! In fact, when the notice came we needed to evacuate immediately, my poor body shook badly. I had to talk to myself, as in “get it together, Amrita, you need to be able to drive!” I shook for about ten minutes and then it abated.


  3. You’ve been on my mind my dear friend!
    I’m so glad to hear you are safe – but can’t bear the thought that you might lose your sweet home…
    Please keep us informed if you can, and be safe, be safe.
    Sending love and blessings


    1. Hi Louisa,
      Boudewijn, Raven, (my son) and Bodhi the dog are at our home in Sebastopol without power. Raven can’t go home yet–still mandatory evacuation. There is supposed to be another wind event tonight, with the fear of embers casting the fire more widely. I know Boudewijn will stay attentive in case they need to evacuate again.
      Sending love,


  4. Yivke

    Dearest Amrita en Boudewijn ,
    I am touched very deeply by what you are sharing about the wildfire.
    My heart is with you two , precious friends .
    Are you safe now?
    May you , your family and all other families and sentient beings involved , be protected and surrounded by hope and miracles.
    I wish you Love and Divine Blessings.

    Yvonne ( The Open Path )


    1. Hi Yvonne,
      I’m at a retreat and not in the fire zone. Boudewijn, my son Raven, and our dog Bodhi are at home in Sebastopol without power. Raven can’t go home–still mandatory evacuation. The wind is rising again tonight, with the threat of the fire spreading by embers. Fingers crossed.
      Thanks for commenting! Sending love,


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