There’s this song I’ve been listening to a lot this summer. It was written and performed by a friend of mine who lives nearby. She’s a cowgirl who’s lived an interesting life, and the song is a ballad of love for that life.

Caitlyn Taussig – Cowgirl Singer

Fall is usually a time when people count their blessings and say what they’re grateful for.

You know what? That’s a great thing. More people should do that the whole year round.

Something else people should start doing…

Count the things they left behind.

I got evacuated from my home twice. I left a lot of things behind, and I did it with a combination of cold calculation and heartbreaking nostalgia.

For every one thing I brought, I felt as though I left 50 behind. No, I’m not a hoarder. I’m also not a minimalist.

I took everything that mattered to me. My family and socks. But, seriously, there wasn’t that much that came with, considering that I’ve lived on this earth for 25 years, collecting as I went along my merry way.

The view during our second evacuation – our property is being hugged by that edge of smoke on the right-hand side of that big column.

What I left behind… too many unread books. The leftovers in the fridge I wasn’t excited about eating. Most of my clothes. ALL of my least-favorite hygiene products.

When I got home, I picked up a few of those books and gave them a crack. The leftovers were very moldy. And I have a new appreciation for simple clothes and simple soaps.

There were a few other things I gave up – a few intangibles.

I left behind fear. I didn’t need it, and it was slowing me down. Speed was what I needed far more.

Regret was a luxury I couldn’t afford.

This meant that when I totaled a

Remember to drive fully alert and very safe, kids

car during the evacuation,  it just kind of happened. Yes, it was my fault, but it also wasn’t. No matter how many times I replay it in my head, it happened. I won’t make the same mistake again, but there wasn’t really a way for me to not make it.


I’d left my regret and fear at home. I screwed up. I paid my ticket. I pitched in for a new car. It’s over. It’s done.

Until my mother reminds me to drive carefully again. :) Let’s call it tuition for a semester of learning in the school of Life. I got a lot of “A’s” this summer on various tests and finals – even though I bombed an important exam on driving while alert.

Sometimes the things that we learn along the way – the friends we make and the lessons we learn – are just as important as the things we gave up in order to be where we are, doing what we’re doing.