Sitting at this computer, thinking about the past few weeks of holiday events involving parties, parade, festivals, and lots and lots of people, puts my head in a spin.

It feels like, “Well, that all happened,” but then more is coming. We still have a few holidays to go with the Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and all the preparation that goes into those events. The “Christmas creep” was upon us many weeks back.

Along the way, we’ve witnessed autumn with her beautiful flash of colors and felt the air turn cool. Hasn’t she been grand this year — such a tremendous relief after this horrible summer of wildfire loss.

And beginning possibly Thursday afternoon, Idyllwild will usher in winter, weeks ahead of the Winter Solstice, with new snowfall, maybe ending the annual Snow Guessing Contest even.

Time to be prepared again, not for wildfires, but for adapting to cold weather and especially driving in it, warns Caltrans. But its advise is much like that of being prepared for wildfire: Have a full tank of gas, “bring a charged cell phone (charger), food, water, medications, flashlight, warm clothing/blankets and appropriate footwear in case you become stranded.”

Much of it is common sense but we still procrasinate. What happens to other people doesn’t happen to us.

But if we do prepare with all of the advice public officials offer, are we ever prepared enough?

Just like on Thanksgiving, I always think I’m fully prepared — that I’ve stocked my shelves and refrigerator with my entire list of cooking and baking needs. It never fails — I failed to buy enough of this or that, such as chicken stock.

For Christmas, I prepare all my shopping lists and make sure everything arrives at its destination on time. Then, at the last minute, I forget someone.

From the Harvest Festival where my daughter was setting up our booth Friday morning, she called to say she had forgotten to take the money bag from me she would need for change that day.

When we evacuated this summer, I thought I covered all the important things to bring but as my grandchildren helped me declutter the house before Thanksgiving last week, I discovered several important papers I would have greatly missed.

Speaking of something missed, I miss the four seasons we used to enjoy most years. Now, I only enjoy three: fall, winter and spring. Summer is the one I dread; the new norm, as we say. And that dread also creeps into autumn.

Those people in Paradise, like my ex-sister-in-law who escaped with her life and lost all her belongings, they could never have been prepared for that morning violence that changed their lives forever. If they had done everything we are advised to do to prepare for wildfire, would they have been any better off?

Will we ever be fully prepared for everything? No, but we can try. We can fill up our gas tank, follow the advisors and do the best we can to prepare for the worst. And then live life every day as if it’s our last.

Becky Clark, Editor

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