It's a chilly, damp morning and there is a stillness in the air. I'm curled up with a cup of hot tea underneath my fuzzy blanket. My favorite kind of morning. We had an intense day of flooding yesterday, and though it started to breach the wall at the Octagon, no water has gotten into the houses yet. Once the water subsided I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had washed away a tremendous amount of mud from our property, cleaning off the boulders in our field. This will all make it much easier for me to build the rock walls in the future.
I have always loved the sound of rain, but I've noticed that I feel a restlessness in my heart now when I hear rain or wind. I think the past few months will take some processing and when I have time to do so, I will. I look around this community and see all of us together just facing today, then tomorrow, bracing ourselves against what may come. We have many days of rain in the forecast and this has been the wettest monsoon season I have seen in years. After the two wildfires, I don't think any of us were REALLY prepared for the onslaught of rain that has followed. But, there is a strength in each of us that I don't think we tap into until we face these kinds of challenges and it grows stronger when we know we are not alone. As a neighborhood, we are together and I know without hesitation that if any one of us is in trouble it will be addressed by many. With that knowledge comes greater confidence and determination.
I took a quick hike up Fern Mountain, on the other side of the Peaks on Saturday just to mentally work through the thoughts I haven't been able to consider for weeks on end. I sat in the sunshine on the top soaking up the fragrance of the wild - it was such a strong sensation and I couldn't identify if it was because of the recent rain + wildflowers + wild animals all about, or if it was because I have been away from it for what feels like forever (the past days have felt like years). Maybe it was both. It was so still and quiet on that mountain and in my heart that the bees felt noisy. I felt restoration in those simple moments.
We have moved into the A-frame this week. Slowly, one car load at a time we moved A-frame items to the new house and then new house items into the A-frame. I wrecked my 4-Runner late one evening after we had been doing flood prep; I was way too tired to be driving and in the darkness I jack knifed my trailer into it. So, we've been down to one car for all of this. Grrr. We can't park next to the A-frame thanks to the copious quantity of mud/debris in what used to be the driveway, so we've hauled everything some distance. Thank goodness I have strapping boys to assist!
Once we were mostly moved into the A-frame, Kaysee and I began the preparation for getting the new house on the Airbnb market. There was a lot of furniture moving, bed dismantling, re-arranging and then re-arranging again, and then a good measure of cleaning. But, it's almost there.
The boys have held up incredibly well under all this. They took to their new living quarters like champs and have embraced their new reality at a full gallop. I can see signs of stress in each of them, but they're being open and talking about it and I think that really helps. I've seen more tears - especially when it starts to rain. Lochlan has been fixating on various things which is always difficult. Kelton decided to cut his own hair because he was hot and the results were... memorable. Madigan has been quite emotional with strong emotions in both directions. Declan has been supportive and caring, but I can see the weight literally making his shoulders a little lower. I had a come-apart yesterday. I had spent a couple hours washing the carpets with our obsolete, ear-splitting carpet cleaner. The carpets were (almost) spotless; then, Madigan came into the house with his boots covered in mud and... you guessed it. After an outburst of sobbing, I rallied myself and started re-cleaning the carpet, only for the carpet cleaner to give up and die. While scrubbing the mud out by hand, I cried some more. I realized that I was not crying about the carpet - not really. It was the reality that this incident reflected what so much of my life has felt like through this pretty wretched year. I have worked for years to make this place a refuge for our family, a place of beauty to return to when the going gets tough, when the challenges with Lochlan become too much, when darkness tries to consume. I have tended the gardens, pulled millions of weeds, moved thousands of rocks to make pathways, built fences... to watch it wash away in one flash flood.
But, I believe that suffering is never for nothing. I am to work diligently, to put my heart and soul into the things that are placed before me to do. The ultimate outcome of that work is not necessarily in my ability to determine. I am to teach my children to love well and to keep walking forward when all the world hurls itself against them. This life seems to be very much about the molding of our hearts through the process of suffering. We may not know in our lifetime why these things are required of us. I beg God to be merciful, but ultimately He is not obligated to be so. His goodness is everlasting though everything around us perish. He is moving in the unseen, so even when my confidence is shaken and fear crawls into my heart, I know that I am not alone.
We need the rain to grow the things that are needed above us on the mountain. I consider the aspen groves that may grow abundantly upon our present burn scar. Perhaps our present suffering will bless future generations who will find hope and life in golden forests of aspen.