The garage door opener on one of the bays at this fire-necessitated temporary house of ours does not work. It gets caught and keeps whirring until you physically go unhook it. If it is not unhooked, it seems to launch itself. I heard it tonight while I was doing something else. I wondered how long it had been whirring. The fire has made me sensitive to the whirring of the garage door opener and the sound of the wind.
Once we moved away from a place because there was no wind. We were uncomfortable living there but kept thinking we would get used to the place. After months we realized that the leaves and the grass and the air were not moving and that it felt dead to us. If you have lived in the mountains or by the sea you know the wind is sentient. I love wind. I know sometimes you should be worried by the wind. A fire can worry the wind changing who it is.
The day of the fire the wind had been changed.
I was sick when the fire came. Days earlier, before I got sick, I had dug holes in my rocky ground and placed an arbor in concrete. As I dug, I made piles of little rocks close to the arbor. I had not cleaned up the piles of rocks. I only needed to move the stones from one pile to another, about 2 feet from where they were to where they were to go. Certainly I could do that, even sick. I was on my hands and knees slowly moving rocks from my left to my right when a worrying wind hit me like a freight train. It hit so hard I almost lost my balance even though I was on my hands and knees. It spooked me. I thought someone had come up behind me when I was working. I looked but there was no one there. I went back to work but I could not shake the feeling of something being around that I could not see—something that was dangerous.
I walked rather more quickly than I would like to admit the short distance into the house and locked the doors. It was not like a horror film but there was an edge to it. I tried to tell myself it was just because I was sick. I actually felt horrible, worse than I had in days. I felt so bad that I texted my spouse saying my throat hurt. It was electronic whining. He texted back and asked if I wanted him to come home. I was embarrassed and said he need not come home, I would be fine.
About 30 minutes later I heard the whirring of the garage door. My spouse came in and I felt both sorry and happy to see him. I felt sorry because I knew it was me that made him come home from town. I felt happy because he was there and it made me feel better. The wind battered the house but it was not so worrisome with two.
Within another 30 minutes the fire had started and my spouse had spotted it. If my spouse had not come home, I would not have known about the fire. The way our bedroom faced I could not have seen it. I was so sick and sleepy I might not have heard the evacuation people knock on the door. I like to think I would have been able to get out but I also know the shiver of wonder if I actually would have made it.
People who care about me say they don’t want to think about what would have happened if my spouse had not come home. I asked him why he did it and he said, “I just got worried.”
The wind worried me. The fire worried the wind but the worry of love is the strongest of the lot.