Tuesday, August 30, 2022

In the darkness, perspective is gained


Kelton met me on the stairs after escorting Lochlan to the bathroom to throw up. He said, "Mom, the sun is about to come up, let's grab some tea and blankets and go onto the porch to watch it." He was right... and it was beautiful. He wrapped his legs around mine as we sat in the cold morning air (48 degrees) and we welcomed the sun onto our day. 

Lochlan has been throwing up for the past 22 hours. He started yesterday morning, but didn't act particularly ill, so I thought perhaps he had just eaten something he shouldn't and would bounce back. By the afternoon, he was very sick. He has thrown up absolutely everything I've given him to try to re-hydrate him and he has thrown up nothing. He was up almost the entire night and because he won't throw up in the toilet, it is imperative to try to keep him in the bathroom. He would migrate from the bathroom and I would get him off our sitting chair in the loft just in time to prevent vomit from covering the chair. Poor guy... it's so uncomfortable to sleep on the floor in the bathroom no matter how many blankets/towels I put down for him. Yet, until he can master the toilet there are really no other options. I have no idea what the catalyst is for this round of sickness, but it is likely one of the countless things that are imbalanced in his intestines. I need answers for this kid. 

Last night the boys and I sat on the porch and watched the stars for over an hour before bedtime. The night sky is so bright here and it is always a reminder of how small our world is compared to the grand universe where we see but a glimpse. There is so much activity in the expanse above - we saw shooting stars, satellites, airplanes, planets and stars that looked like they were twinkling. The very living of life can feel a bit daunting when we become weary; in the darkness, perspective is gained. 

Monday, August 29, 2022


The kindness of others has touched my heart and it has done so much to bolster my strength. This weekend was filled with cousin time. I took a hike with Kelsey and Kaysee at the crack of smack on Friday morning up Mt. Elden and then my cousin, Gabe, flew from Denver to help us. We worked all weekend moving rocks and building the gabion baskets that we will fill with the rocks to help protect us against flood waters. Kris designed a panini press to fold the 16' pieces of metal in half so that the gabion walls would have greater strength. It was a clever design which made the whole job very straightforward and efficent. My Aunt T, Gabe, Kaysee, and Max worked tirelessly for three solid days and we made astounding progress. It was such a gift on so many levels, but for me it was the time spent together that made it invaluable. We all have so little opportunity to spend time together with the miles that separate us, so when we are together it is rich and treasured. 

On Saturday, one of my mom's dear friends brought a dozen ladies to come assist us for over an hour. They worked so hard and the cheerfulness of their hearts made all the work seem lighter that day. They were able to completely reinforce one of our cement barriers, unloading 4 trailers full of rocks. 

Sometimes, progress is difficult to measure when the property looks like a war zone. In this season of seemingly constant challenges, the support and assistance of others has a profound affect. I see how it encourages the boys as well. Kelton is such a hard worker, putting his full weight into whatever job we are tasked with. And yet I see him fight discouragement as the fatigue settles in. He has been incredibly motivated watching so many others come around and work alongside us. It is hard to not feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work that is and will be required to try to restore this property from the damages left by the flooding. We are reminded time and again that we are not alone and it gives us renewed stamina and determination. 

In the meantime, Lochlan is doing his best to make life interesting and remind us that nothing is predictable. He has decided to start pooping everywhere except the toilet again. He is not throwing it yet, but yesterday he had three "accidents". It's particularly difficult because our washing machine is hobbit sized and can wash less than 10 items at once. Lochlan has also bolted from the property three times now. We keep our gates locked, but with all the foot traffic in and out of late, he has found every possible opportunity to exit if the gates are left closed but not padlocked. Last night he bolted for the road with wagon in tow. After a barefoot chase we were able to corral him before he headed for hwy 89. It's just unnerving, as I know he is not beyond climbing the fence too. Also, I worry that one day I won't be fast enough. So, it's all-eyes-on during every waking minute of Lochlan's hours. Well, let's be realistic...  I have to be ready during his sleeping hours as well. I heard noises on the stairs at 3:00 AM this morning and caught him headed out the front door, presumably to take a pee off the porch. So, we try to sleep with the door to our bedroom open just to maximize the likelihood of catching the midnight wanderer.  

Goodbyes are never easy for me, so as I watched everyone leave yesterday, I headed to my hill to process the events of the weekend, the joy in my heart and the sorrow of goodbyes. I walked up into the valley next to my hill and on top of one of the ridges across from it. I was shocked at how much had burned on that ridge, how close it had come to my "playground", my place of refuge. There is a line, a clear firebreak, on all the surrounding ridges that overlook my hill, like someone blew it out as it crested. I do not understand this gift, but I treasure it and I will behold it every time life threatens to drown me.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The rainbow disappears

 We drove underneath a rainbow tonight and it disappeared. We could see the magnificent display in front of us and then behind us, but it was not to be found when we were directly underneath. I do believe that is a reflection of much of our lives. Right now, I cannot really see the rainbow, but I know it is there, nevertheless, because I saw it ahead of me and I have seen it in the times when I have looked back to try to find it. 

Lochlan has had dark circles underneath his eyes for the past several days. He has slept poorly, at best, going to bed quite late, wandering in the wee hours of the morning and then climbing into bed with us well before we wish to be awake. He has had several rounds of diarrhea in all the wrong places. He has raged and been quite naughty. Until tonight I wasn't able to decipher the cause. Then, Kelton found him sneaking a large swig of chai tea latte hidden deep within the bowels of the refrigerator. The ingredients not only include milk, but also caffeine. 

He started school this week, just three hours (blessed THREE WHOLE HOURS!) a day, and I have found myself up (with Lochlan usually) in the wee hours of the morning pondering the endless possibilities for him to sabotage this opportunity/resource. If he utilizes his prodigious skill set and acts upon his tendencies, his teachers are unlikely to tolerate the behavior(s). In this, too, I have to just face tomorrow in forward motion, not borrowing trouble where it does not yet exist, but instead choosing to place my trust where it does not easily rest. 

We woke up to find that during the night Lochlan had filled our bathtub (a large horse water trough that we converted into a tub) to the top with water and all the liquid soap to be found. Then, he proceeded to fill the tub with various baskets full of items from the boys' bedroom and bathroom, including electric toothbrushes, most of their clothes, towels, stuffed animals and... toilet paper rolls (etc.). 

Kaysee and I took the kids to go shopping at Goodwill last week just to "feel normal" for a couple hours. 10 minutes after we walked into the store, Lochlan peed all over - a full lake. Urine dripped off items in the cart and poured onto the floor. People looked at us like we were crazy and irresponsible or walked toward us in total oblivion of our challenge. We finally found a helpful employee who assisted us in picking it up and then we exited the store at a full gallop. Kaysee and I were both on the verge of tears. Madigan cried on the way home, through yet another storm of rain, thunder and violent lighting which escorted us home. All of us had lost our desire to pretend like we could have a normal day. Sometimes, the accumulation of all that is and all that has been begins to feel truly burdensome. 

Where does our strength come from? Where does our hope find it's source and why is it filled when we do not expect or anticipate it? The sun rises each day and reminds us that we are to do the same. I look at the burned forest that surrounds my beautiful hill and it is full of life! Even so many of the scorched trees are abundantly coming back to life. The wildflowers cover all the blackened soil and the air is full of the fragrance of what is living. The green is more vibrant after the fire. 

So, in these coming days of rain and subsequent flooding (we experienced our 13th large flood today), in the hours when my heart is flooded with the grief of what I cannot change in and for Lochlan, I will look to the hills, to what has been created for me to SEE and KNOW. I keep finding the strength for tomorrow, the joy that utterly overwhelms me and it is given in all the unexpected places. It is found even when I'm not looking for it.