More than 25,000 Sonoma County residents have had to be evacuated from their homes over the past three days due to numerous fires roaring through the hills. Though we aren’t in immediate danger, my wife asked me to prepare travel bags in the event that we did have to leave quickly.

Looking around my house, I reflected on the things that would mean the most to me, or would be hardest to replace. My grandfather’s watch, passports, a gift my wife gave me for our wedding, my grandather’s Masonic bible, and a backup of our home server which contains many pictures, documents, and a full copy of this website. Other than clothes and some toiletries, that was it.

When I was younger I associated having a large library as a sign of intelligence. I wanted to be seen as smart so I kept almost every book I read, eventually filling multiple large bookcases which followed me from house to house. Some few years back someone helped me really dive into why I had amassed that collection, and I decided to offload. Now my entire collection can fit in one bookshelf instead of three, and even that is because I haven’t cleaned it out in a while.

It’s always been easy for me to say “I could move at the drop of a hat,” but looking at everything I own, that statement was brought into stark reality. I really could leave all of this stuff behind. I’d lament the loss of some irreplaceable mementos, but I don’t think for very long. It’s odd to admit feeling cold and calculated toward the things I’ve gathered over the course of my life, but it’s the truth.

I suppose I’m not very sentimental any more, if even I had ever been. Stuff is just stuff; there’s always more where it came from.