After 14 hours on the road, we’re safe in Poteau, Oklahoma with relatives. Took us seven hours to go the first 80 miles and we left relatively early. We’ll go on to Witchita tomorrow.
I cannot say what a surreal experience preparing for evacuation was. A real-life excercise in non-attachment. Trying to pack the most important, vital, useful, and meaningful objects in the lives of a family and only having a few hours to try to protect the rest was an effort that had me rather addled. At the end I was grabbing things I saw and putting them in plastic bags more or less at random. I had to stop myself. It was like trying to bail the Titanic with a shot glass. I had to choose between getting out early and staying to protect more stuff. Ultimately, it’s just stuff. Attachments, memories, pieces of reified self — but ultimately just Stuff. I still hope to see some of it again.
But I got out with the family. That’s what matters. We chose right. From the look of this storm, any extra effort and time to try and protect our home would have been wasted. Precious hours that enabled us to leave the Hosuton area in three hours instead of eight.
We got a voice mail from our municipality of Taylor Lake Village telling us that mandatory evacuation is in effect and that they’re expecting most of my area to be covered in ten feet of water from the storm surge. I can handle that if the winds will simply leave the house standing. I’d much rather salvage our belongings from a flooded house than a flooded pile of rubble.
Right now I am feeling adrift, as if we’ve jumped in a life boat to watch our ship sink on the horizon. We’re safely in port for now, and for that I am thankful. I’ve never been so literally abandoned into the hands of God.
What struck me as I was driving up here is how not freaked-out I am. I have Heidi and I have the kids. The rest is just stuff.