A Reminder on the Fragility of Life.

I have a very intense relationship with my space heater.


My space heater is a universally known fire hazard, but that doesn’t mean I stop using it. Just the sound of it purring in the background induces a deep creative space for me to move into. I love how it makes me feel all warm, creative, and cozy.

When I moved back to Idaho to live with my parents so I could work on my writing gig, of course I brought my space heater along with me. It’s kind of like a cat or a dog to me—I never go anywhere without it. park

Sure enough when the cold swept through this past fall, my space heater came out to play. It spent long hours purring by my side in my bedroom downstairs. That’s all I ever really need to create anything, just me and my space heater.

Dad always comes downstairs to bother me and pick my brain when I’m writing. He’s always telling me what a big fire hazard my space heater is. loveBack in the day, Dad used to be a wild-land firefighter. He’s always had a deeper understanding of the benefits and consequences of fire. We never really had candles, incense, or anything of that nature in our home. It was pretty much a rule of thumb that unless we were at the dinner table, candles were not allowed to be burned.

But after the warehouse fire in Oakland, California this past weekend, my space heater and I have entered a tumultuous time in our relationship. This event has caused me to take a step back and rethink ways that I can be safer with fire and fire-inducing items in my home.

For those of you who do not know about the fire, 36 people died late Friday night. The fire started in an abandoned warehouse turned low-incoming living quarters for Bay Area residents. The warehouse was an unsafe maze that housed artists, a music venue, and creative space for people looking to collaborate. It’s still unknown how the fire started, but it erupted so quickly that it gave very little time for the residents of the building to find escape.

My heart goes out the victims who faced death upon the inferno. I know that puts a darker spin on things, but as funny, beautiful, and magical as life can be, it can also be a cruel teacher. As uncomfortable as it is to talk about, it’s important to address these issues and events that are very real and pertinent in our society. We aren’t invincible beings. This is a call to remind us that earth is not always a safe place and life is indeed very fragile.

So today I’m packing up my space heater and cutting it out of my life cold turkey. In addition to it being a fire hazard, it eats away at our precious energy supply. I can learn how to enjoy the warmth of winter in more layers and hot cups of tea. It’s time I bear this time of year in true North Idaho fashion: I’ll be growing some thicker skin!

Be safe out there, oklandfire






  1. Well, unlike the egg sandwich, we agree here. I cannot STAND things to be lit if I am not right with them. The family always wants to leave the tree plugged in overnight….but I can’t sleep if it is.

    So sad on the warehouse, too, and a nice tribute to them here.

    1. Thanks Wally, my heart has been feeling a little heavy these days… Very smart of you to have those kind of anxieties. I had a friend in elementary school who’s house caught fire from the lights on the Christmas tree… It was a “left on overnight” kind of deal. Very sad!

      1. When I was a kid a billion years ago that was seriously a dangerous thing to do. I suppose lights have improved but I just quite believe that fully

        That will convince me to leave them on Christmas Eve….for Santa lol. I will be keeping one eye open all night!

  2. I have a space heater at work – I kind of have to or the room temp stays at about 50ish. But it’s the kind that shuts off if you tip it.

    Also consider an electric blanket to wrap up in vs. a space heater….those are GLORIOUS.

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