One woman’s quest to make sense of a nonsensical world after losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire. Exploring the existence of God, our cultural discomfort with grief, what it means to be human as well as life in a 1967 Airstream trailer, Kristen Moeller shares her humanity, her spirit and her dark edge openly for herself as well as for the countless others who beg to be heard in their wild journey through this wacky world.
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My Shitter Overflowith

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New goals should be clearly set and worked toward, as this is the beginning of a nine-year cycle. It is best not to dwell on the past at this time. This will be fairly easy for you to do because most of the problems and disappointments of the past will tend to disappear, leaving the way open for these new challenges. This is a great time; use it to its full advantage! It holds the promise of an exciting new adventure, with life taking on new challenges that pave the way for the next cycle of nine years in your life. This is a time to clarify your goals and to act on them. Hard work may be necessary to get a new venture moving.

From a reading, describing the end of 2011 and what’s to come… Hmmmm.   An exciting new adventure.  Yes, I can see that.  New challenges, check!  Clarifying my goals.  Yes.  Hard work.  Fer shure.
Most of the problems and disappointments from the past have disappeared – in a fiery maelstrom.  So, yes, it’s true, I am not dwelling on thosethings.  Don’t even remember what they were.  And, most days, I am doing “well”.  And then there are those moments…  You know “those” moments?  The ones that take you to your knees, that leave you unsure if you will crack open on the spot and not “crack open” in the seemingly good way but in the way where your psyche may actually fold in on itself and you may just die right there?  Those moments.  I danced on the verge of a few of these moments yesterday. 
Let me be clear, I absolutely adore Flame.  Living in her is lovely.  It is also challenging, small for two people and two big dogs and a major adjustment.  And, I would rather be living here than any of the other options we have at this moment.  Come snowfall, this will probably be different but we aren’t there yet.  We are getting our systems in order.  Internet still needs to be run off the generator which can be a bit of a drag.  Upgrading this system is a top priority on David’s list.  We have the water situation mostly handled as we have a larger generator, which can support the well pump.  The dog fence is operational – and I will talk about that in a minute.  The biggest “to be handled” issue is the shitter.  We topped out on the storage capacity of the shitter on Sunday morning.  We knew it was inevitable yet there didn’t seem to be a gauge anywhere.  They way we discovered we were at capacity was it just wouldn’t go down…  Unable to locate the proper “black storage tank” in time, we were at the mercy of the local septic pump-out company.  Fortunately it was only one and a half days of doing our business in the wild.  I absolutely love the freedom of living so far away from people that I can pee anywhere I damn well like.  Doing my other business, not so much.  Digging holes where the dogs won’t go scavenging and the entire experience is not on my bucket list.  Shirley Septic saved the day and bought us some more time to get this essential system up and running.  I found myself wanting to make jokes with the gentle man whose business it is to remove other people’s business.  He sees it all the time.  I, on the other hand, don’t usually shoot the shit while watching my shit empty into a bucket.  It was a bit awkward to say the least.  He was a pro so I rose to the occasion and talked shop with him.
You would think that my mood would be drastically improved after all my shit was removed!  And, I was quite grateful.  The early summer day was beautiful and I got caught up with more paperwork then I have in months.  Being in the sweet space of Flame felt warm and supportive for checking items off my ever-growing to-do list.  Once again, I must say, I thought I knew what “busy” was before.  Hah!  I took breaks during the day to begin the training of the dogs on their new fence, and that’s when I began dancing on the edge of my angst and anguish.
On the flat areas of our land (of which there are very few) and on a couple of the hillside areas, grass is coming up in patches and clumps.  It looks lovely, the green against the stark black.  It is a reminder of the regenerative power of nature; a sign of hope.  David lay out the invisible fence in a circle of a couple acres vs. the double that size these ranging dogs had before.  We are keeping the dogs away from the future building site so we won’t have to worry about them getting in the way of construction and its hazards.  Now, they have the flat area where Flame sits and a few hillsides around the property.  I began my trek around the fence to place the flags and weight it down with rocks.  As I went, I trudged through ash.  As I picked up rocks, my hands darkened.  As I brushed against trees, my clothes were left striped.  As I hiked, my once pink Keens (yes, I did it again) were left coated and my feet blackened.  Then, it was time to bring the dogs through.  One at a time, I led them on this route and watched them get coated with zebra stripes as well.  Grey socks growing on their precious feet.  I had already been picking black sooty sap off their skin, which yanks their hair and seems to create bald spots.  Watching my babies get coated in this greasy crap triggered anger so deep that it began to darken my sky and choke my air supply.
We choose to live here; they cannot avoid this mess.  These dogs are high energy and need space to move.  Yes, we could keep them confined to a tiny area then always take them off the property for exercise.  But there is no real “clean” area on our 37 acres.  Flame’s sweet interior is beginning to take on a grey tinge as well.   Defeated after the initial training, I scrubbed them as best I could with baby wipes.  Too caked myself for anything other than a major wash down, I took them off the property and down the road for our usual hike.  However, nothing is “usual” around here anymore.  We keep them closer by as we don’t know what type of construction vehicle may try to pass on our narrow roads.  Also, much of the road crosses through burn area which is just more of the same with it’s own brand of sooty soil.  Then, we emerge into the land of “what once was”.
I have reveled in the beauty of seeing what early summer is “supposed” to look like in Colorado.  Last night in my fragile state, the contrast was too great. It roiled and boiled me.  Here is what our land once was: green, lush, dense foliage, wildflowers, aspen trees in full bloom and towering pines gently swooshing in the breeze.  I couldn’t even weep, the pain felt too enormous.  It logded in my throat and made me want to give up, call uncle, say I quit.  Into my mind came the ignorant comments from a few who inquire, “well you have insurance, dontya?”  You have already heard my description of what it really is like to deal with the insurance and the unavoidable financial losses that follow…  As the uber-brilliant Kristina Hall pointed out, it’s not like a fender bender.  Oh, we will just put all of this in the shop and it will come back good as new.  Good as new.  No it won’t actually, not ever.  Or, at least in our lifetime.
Who will help the land?  Besides being patient with it, what can really be done?  Who will scrub the soot from the trees?  The rain is trying but it is a monumental task.  It may take eons.  I can accept a lot, but when my dogs are impacted, I get pissed.  To all the bureaucrats who paper-pushed this fire into existence and then went on their merry way, how ‘bout you put your babies in the middle of an ash forest that once was their home and see how well you handle it while they crawl around and turn black from the soot.  When they breathe in the ash and begin to shit it out, let me know how accepting you are.  When you have no idea of the long-term effects, tell me how you sleep.
When I stepped briefly away from my writing just now, the notion ran through my mind that I am too dark.  Perhaps you are tired of it.  Perhaps I should be grateful for life.  Then, I recall the words I read yesterday by Dawn Cartwritght who explores the trap of living in “love and light” where many of us feel we need to be all the f-ing time.

I find that life has texture. It’s interesting. And so am I. Life becomes an adventure, something definitely worth getting out of bed for in the morning. And not because I am now comfortable. Not because everything’s rosy. It’s because everything is on the table. That 15 megatons of internal pressure caused by trying (said with clenched jaw and grinding teeth) to live in love and light has been released. I am free. I am raw. I am naked. And my heart? This is the big bonus. My heart is open. No longer a made-for-TV version, but the real thing.

This is not a made-for-TV version unless TV decides it wants the real deal and not just the sound-bites (hear that Marshall? 😉 that never quite capture the actual truth. This is the raw and gritty version that has it’s ups and downs and all arounds.  This is good one day and horrific the next.  This is gratitude for the silver bullet I now call home and a moan so deep as I glance in the dusk at the vacant hole that once was my dream house.  This is all of it.  It is avoiding people I love cause I just can’t deal.  It is running to the arms of others who happen to say the right thing at the right time.  It is irritation at people’s careless, yet well-meaning remarks, deep anger at the “system”, great love for the world, marveling at the star-filled sky out my window from my cowboy-sheeted twin bed.  It is the promise of the first cup of coffee.  The stinky wet kisses from Tigger.  The happiness from the feel of my Mont Blanc pen in my hand as I drink out of a Walmart plastic cup.  It is a life in Flame and in flames.
Are we making the right decision to stay here on this damaged but still extraordinary land?  Who the fuck knows.  We may never know.  There may be ambiguous or tragic or amazing consequences later.  Only time will tell.  Only the shadow knows.
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2 Responses

  1. Dotty says:

    A calm generous shitter-taker-carer-of is an amazing find in this world. Glad he brightened your day, dear one. You manage to see light where most would just moan and close their eyes. Love you, you strong, fantastic woman you. xoxoxo ma

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