I just pulled a batch of bread out of the oven. I find each day that I am mentally planning meals for "when" the power goes out, so we usually start by getting bread baked, heating tea water for the thermos, and putting on a pot of soup which can be eaten hot or cold as long as it's already cooked through. :-) I probably drink a ridiculous amount of hot tea every day, but I find myself thinking, "well, if the power goes out in the next few minutes, it would be nice to have a fresh cup ready." A girl has got to have her priorities!
We had dear friends from our (very old) college days visiting us from the Netherlands these past couple days. Though we still planned our days around the radar, we mostly succeeded in taking a mental break from it all by exploring the wild. Being with these dear friends was so sweet. It always amazes me how we can spend so much of our lives apart (in different countries, even!) and still find where we left off and canter on in harmony! It was good for our hearts! I am more ready to face this coming week, though perhaps with a mild sense of trepidation, as always these days. :-)
We are settling in for the long haul on moving back to this property, so we've reached out to all our neighbors with picture information about Lochlan and his tendencies to wander. With our fencing almost completely buried, we are relying solely upon the panel fencing around the A-frame and Lochlan has already been experimenting with climbing it. Short of me watching him 24-7, there remains a constant risk of his escape. Overall, he seems to have adapted to our new living arrangements quite well, so we're hopeful that such nonsense will be avoided, but alas, it sometimes benefits us to proactively plan ahead. We have a fabulous neighborhood of people who really care about one another, so it gives me a great deal of confidence as we go forward in re-building a life here.
Everyone seems weary; people are starting to unravel, emotionally. There is less grace given where it is needed. There are more tears; the grief is real and it haunts us all to varying degrees. Pessimism threatens to replace optimism. There is a sense of exasperation and fatigue that I'm sensing in a lot of this community. Our rains simply will not cease and this has been the longest monsoon season in quite some many years. We plan our days around the flash flood warnings and live life by radar. We watch our properties being etched away day after day by the unrelenting rivers which flow across them. Some of us are trying to mentally make plans for eventual restoration of our properties (very long-term plans, as this will not be a venture for the faint of heart), but everything is on hold as it's impossible to make progress in any direction with the constant rain and subsequent flooding. It's hard to know how to encourage those around me when the skies keep opening up and the waters continue rushing down upon us. I hope we are able to discern where help is needed even when no one asks and that we are perceptive enough to hear what isn't being said in the lives of those around us.
We will make it through this. The rain will stop someday. The sun will find us through the dark clouds. Much of what has been lost will be restored with a great deal of time, energy and tremendous hard work. Much is altered permanently and all of us have to adapt to that reality; this contributes to the grief. We all need a bunch of good long cries. None of us is untouched by the pain of what we've experienced together and individually through these past several months. We have faced wind, fire, water, and we will face dust (from the soil washed down from the mountain), boulders, broken fences, missing property (some of our neighbors are missing several feet of property which has been washed away), water damage, and a tremendous amount of hard work in the days ahead. But, this season will not last forever; our days will not always be governed by the flood alerts.
I don't know "why" to any of this, but I see so much changing and being strengthened in each of us through it all. I hope that we do not allow ourselves to be distracted by pessimism, minor irritations or a general sense of disgruntlement. Let us think on what can be, what has been, and how much more it can be. Our weeds have been replaced by mud and boulders. Let our mud be replaced with flower gardens. Let our sandbags be replaced with beautiful rock walls, physically or metaphorically. :-) Let our old fences be replaced with new fences that leave our homes welcome to friends, family and neighbors we now know and love. The wild and untamed places that have not been altered by the fires and water still belong to our hearts and we can find comfort in that as we struggle to face tomorrow.