It seems to me that the past couple years of my life have revolved around homes. I’m at an age where a lot of my friends are just getting settled into their first places, or maybe pulling the trigger on a second place with their boyfriends and girlfriends. We are signing the mortgage papers, and moving the couches, and using the Pizza Pizza napkins for toilet paper because SOMEONE packed the ACTUAL toilet paper in the BACK of the moving truck like an IDIOT, DAVID. But we’re doing it. We are putting down roots, and its equal parts wonderful and terrifying.
As a sales person in Real Estate, I show homes constantly, and to be very honest, it’s kind of a weird gig. When you show a home, you get a very real, very intimate glimpse into someone’s life. The framed photos on the wall, the dog dish in the kitchen, the soccer cleats and baseball gloves and dirty jerseys hastily thrown into the garage in a last-ditch effort to make the place presentable before it’s shown. (Or, maybe more realistically where I work, the lifejackets and fishing rods in the closet, the canoe paddles under the deck, the taxidermy turkey head in the basement that scares the shit out of your buyers...)
Every home tells a story. It reads like a book, and while the characters and details are always changing, the stories are all essentially the same. They’re all love stories. Where you invest your love, you invest your life, and as I go through these homes, I can see the love packed into every conceivable corner, and the lives that these people have built.
I have spent the better half of the last year making my house a home. I have the photos on the wall, and the cleats in the porch. I have the scrapes on my ceiling from when I didn’t quite have the clearance I thought for my first real Christmas tree. It is where my heart is. It is my home.
As I follow the Fort McMurray fires, my chest feels tight. I know what it is like to love a community so much that they become your family, and I can’t help but be horrified. I simply cannot imagine what it must be like, how it must feel, to look out your window at this monstrous black cloud as it moves towards you, and know that you’re next, your neighbourhood is next, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Nothing. You just have to leave. Leave, and know that nothing will remain of your home when you come back. If you come back. It’s inconceivable to me.
I am so sad for the people of Fort McMurray who have had to live this nightmare. While it is incredibly fortunate (miraculous really) that no lives have been lost, the loss of a home should not be trivialized. Rebuilding will be painful and costly, but we Canadians are a resilient and compassionate people. Canada is the home that we all share together. Please consider aiding where you can.