One Plastic Bag

one plastic bag
is all they could take
as they fled from the flames
that encroached on their towns
“there’s no room for more”
is what they were told
before they could board the bus
to safety

but how do you sum up a life
in one plastic bag?

a couple of shirts,
some socks and some shorts
and don’t forget the underwear
a toothbrush, and
maybe a book
but no room
for that craft
she’s been working on
for over a year
no room to take
the manuscript of the novel
that he’s spent countless hours on
no room
for the trinkets that have
no monetary value,
but are priceless reminders
of a loved one departed

one plastic bag
holds a bit, but not much

how would I pack my
one plastic bag?

what would you put
in one plastic bag
if you knew

that the rest might burn?


wild fires are ravaging the northern part of the province where I live.  Around 13,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.  Those who couldn’t drive out themselves, but had to take the evacuation buses were only allowed one bag of belongings each.  Not even pets were permitted.  This is the largest evacuation in the history of Saskatchewan, and the crisis has left me feeling somewhat introspective.


4 thoughts on “One Plastic Bag

  1. Katrina gave me the same feelings. I have several bug out packs for us with necessities and cash, but leaving behind a part of your life is so very different. I have put on several thumb drives of scanned family photos, official records and account numbers, writings. But it just isn’t the same. I couldn’t leave my pet behind. When my mother was with me, i often wondered about evacuating her and she was frightened. I told her I would carry her on my back and let the good Lord carry us on His. I feel so for people in this situation. I will pray for the safety of you and your family.

    • we are nowhere near the danger ourselves, but I’m sure that those who are from the area would certainly appreciate your prayers. And pray specifically for rain. This is the driest it’s been for many years.

  2. Oh my goodness, Bryan–I had no idea it was so bad up there! And I can’t imagine what I’d put in my one bag. I always think my belongings don’t matter much to me….I couldn’t fit all my Bibles in one bag! My prayers go up for all those feeling the “heat” of this trial.

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