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.