Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road

And it was gone

Early in the morning of October 9, 2017 my dear friend, who I lovingly call my daughter, Chels, was awakened at 2:30am by a frightful feeling.  Looking out the bedroom window, she saw an orange sky in every direction.  An out of control fire whipped by hurricane force winds, downed cell towers and power lines was rapidly sweeping down upon them and their neighborhood in quiet Santa Rosa, CA.

And so with husband Jeff, they quickly managed to get 3 sleepy children, 2 hyper dogs and one lizard out of harm’s way.  By 8 am they heard the news, not only was their home gone but the entire subdivision; a pile of rubble and ash beyond recognition or familiarity.

I heard the news on Facebook.  She had reported that she was now “safe” from the Tubbs fire.  I was grateful for her post, yet pained by the loss that they would grieve for many years to come.

I thought of how Chels loved to travel and help those in need – Brazil, Angola and more.  The little objects, the photos that unlocked stories of her heart were gone forever.  Suddenly, I looked around my home knowing that what is significant to me are those treasures that have no “replacement value” rather they are the trinkets of travels, of experiences, of memories held in my heart.  And over time, and with new stories, without that talisman, the memories become less precise, more fleeting, eventually lost to the recall of the mind.

As a result of this event, I have made a decision to try and capture those little trinkets, their stories and the memories they hold.  They are the souvenirs of my many travels, meaningless to others, but to me, they are the chapters in the journey of my life.


TravelMary Anne Harris