Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Thoughts on Fire

The smoke filling the air mirrors the fog I feel in my brain. My thoughts feel jumbled and my senses dull. The sun is filtered through a shadowed lens. Smoke inhalation feels like it is splitting my head apart. I just swatted (rather hard) at a fly on my leg only to recognize upon the "ouch" that it wasn't a fly, but another gash from the week's adventure(s). 13 glasses of water and only 2 trips to the bathroom today would suggest that dehydration is not a myth.

Declan climbed into my bed tonight and laid his head on my chest; he sighed and told me that he woke up last night, away from home (I had evacuated the kids to be with our beloved Barbara who lives across town), in a terror and he thought in his post-dream state that our house had burned and that I had burned with it. He said he cried and then remembered that God hears him and prayed for me to be safe and then believed that I was and would be safe.

Three days... preparing this place - our home/and the life we've built within it's peaceful boundaries - for the possibility of the big ugly attempting to gobble it as voraciously as we've seen it devour a vast expanse of the forests that are a part of the very hearts/souls of the members of this community. 1 billion weeds pulled (Kelton you are a weeding MACHINE!), 2.5 acres mowed with my trusty push mower - capable of taking on cinders, tree-sized weeds, copious amounts of dirt/dust, toys and prairie dog holes - loading/hauling/depositing 2 full truck/trailer loads of flammable items to the dump (where we love the people, and loathe the smell), raking 6 million pine needles, masterfully creating three massive burn piles, clearing beneath every shed and porch to ensure nothing flammable lures the beast, filling every water holding device within range, watering all living plants/trees, mowing down the wildflowers that graced so elegantly about the perimeter of our house - they shall return! - cutting tree branches from the obliging pine trees, removing items near the house to a safer distance - how did we manage to collect so much crapping stuff over such a relatively short amount of time??? - and lastly, but definitely not leastly, treating my people to breve lattes from our favorite coffee shop, which hasn't yet evacuated, much to our delight. If cousin Kaysee and her Max hadn't been on task as workhorses alongside me in Mission Save This Place, this particular mission might well have been a fruitless endeavor. I am forever - truly, forever - indebted. Madigan and Declan are entirely to be credited with the hours of watering that were put into our green and leafy friends.

Pizza. We've eaten a lot of it. Poor Lochlan who can't eat cheese; kinda' turning into a crusty guy these days. :-) Food, and in particular it's preparation, just seems so burdensome and impossible in the midst of IT ALL, so pizza... here's to you. "Thanks" isn't enough.

Airbnb guests: Steve, you brave soul. And all of you more sensible guests, no offense. We'll assume it was the raging forest fire that scared you off. Right??? :-)

The midnight gutter cleaning... special times. Madigan and Declan, you are rock stars sticking with me through the thick and thin (smoke), all hours of the day and night, helping me do HARD PHYSICAL LABOR. You are truly the best men I know. Proud doesn't even come close to what I feel about you.

So, as we wait to find out what morning holds for us, here's to life - this life - and all that it holds.

{For all who have been asking, Kris has been out of town for work}

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Organizing rocks with a cane

 I saw an elderly man on the sidewalk, carefully nudging tiny cinder pebbles away from the sidewalk and more resolutely back into the perimeter of his yard. He painstakingly aimed, shoved, missed, aimed, missed, shoved each tiny pebble, even though no pebble was in actuality outside of the boundary of the yard. They were just dangerously close and, no doubt, anxious to escape onto the sidewalk. The mental image of this scene gnawed at me, and reminded me of how often I get caught in the trap of sorting the tiny, irritating pebbles in my life which are not horribly out of alignment, but rather have fallen into disarray with the perfect plan I have created for myself (my day, my week, my life). Of course I should by this time be pleasantly relaxed and un-flustered when all things (people?) do not fall into place or operate the way I anticipate/hope/expect... but, alas. I am guilty of cane sorting and the full picture of life (much of which I am certain/hopeful/fearful is yet to be seen) eludes me in those wretched moments of near sighted and obsessive (internal and external) puttering.

The unanticipated clouds roll into life and sometimes the beauty is magnified by them. Sometimes, in those cane-wielding moments, my vision is obscured by my perception and the clouds only shadow the sunlight.

So, when the screaming carries on for hours, the door jams break apart from another allergy-induced rage, the frustration of his inability to SAY what he needs/wants/feels reflects in his entire countenance, the vomiting commences for yet another day with no explanation for weeks on end, when the answers elude us, when his loneliness is visible to the naked eye because he is literally locked inside himself with no way out, when he runs away from me in the check out line at Safeway and heads for the open door, when the glass explodes onto the cement countertop as he slams it down in exasperation, when sleep evades us night after night because wakefulness plagues him relentlessly... I must remember to open my eyes and SEE what is before me and to remember that the sun is still shining behind the clouds. 

There is so much joy in his heart. If we but see it we will be forever changed by it.

Hope awaits us over each difficult mountain pass and joy finds us and guides us through the valleys. My beautiful friend(s) lost their baby due to miscarriage today, and the brevity of that loss is profound and real; yet, when I talked with her tonight, she was filled with peace, acceptance and true joy and not in dichotomy to the pain - but in unison with it. We each have our own unique "impossible" to face. What we do with that "impossible" is ours to decide. 

I choose hope. And joy. And delight. And wonder. In unison with the pain.