It’s the little things. And, sometimes it’s like herding cats
Like herding cats. That’s what it feels like as I attempt to sort my thoughts today. I was given a writing assignment which I gladly said yes to! Then as I sit down at the keyboard, the anticipation builds… What will I say? What will be the words that I knowwill come as they reliably have for the past 58 blog entries. And what happens? Nothing. Nada. Niente. Nilch. And, more of that.
Then I can’t even switch gears and write my blog cause my head has suddenly become filled with crap. I have to say, I awoke with some crap in my head. Thank God, I talked with another “home-loser”, the lovely Sharon, and she and I laughed at the ‘murphy’s law’ that seems to be following us around. Just as she was calling me, she opened the microwave in her rental and the glass plate randomly broke. My tale? I picked up my new dress from my trusted tailor to discover that absolutely none of what we talked about had been done. A relatively simple project, or so it seemed, he was to move the ties around so the dress fit better. What I ended up with was not that at all – and get this – one of the ties had been removed from the waist area and literally was re-attached to the bottom of the skirt hem, hanging down. Seriously. Ummmmm. I can’t even begin to understand this logic. In telling my beloved neighbor, she laughed harder than I have ever heard her laugh before which in turn made me laugh instead of continuing down the grumpy path where I was headed all morning. Then, Sharon proclaimed, “it’s a tail”. She must be right. My leopard print dress required a tail. No other explanation needed. Hear that, Murphy?
My sleep has been off again, and my mind has been grasping things to obsess and worry about. The dress was my top worry as I drifted off to sleep and then this morning at 5am I woke up thinking about it. So much for not sweating the small stuff as my grand lesson after tragedy… Meeting yet another fire survivor this morning who lost his home in a fire 12 years ago, a knowing nod accompanied his kind demeanor as I told him some of our tales. He understands. We understand each other. What normally would be an annoyance or inconvenience becomes monumental. And, for some strange reason these “little” annoyances seem to be everywhere we look. From my dress miss-hap (which was supposed to be one of my few “nice” outfits for my upcoming trip), to David’s lengthy drive to a RV supply store (where kindness and a helpful spirit were touted yet completely lacking), to the variety of septic “issues” we have had, these things add up in our already fatigued systems and we quickly dive into overload. Or maybe we never leave overload and these things just further cement our spirals… It’s debatable.
It’s the little things that bring the shit storms, and the gifts. Today, in discussing the fate of our scorched trees, we glanced up at two we were hoping to save but were making their way onto the “fell” list. “What is that?” we wondered aloud. “Is that what we think it is???” It was. A small patch of green pine needles way up high, almost beyond seeing. Was it a tromp l’oeil or the small sign of hope? Since we both saw it, and then the kind man who will fell the rest saw it, we believe it to be true. And, we believe it to be new growth. A few clumps of green amidst a sea of black and brown. These two trees were our favorites besides our long lost pine that towered over our deck and provided much needed shade on our south facing lot. Shade is a missing commodity these days and its absence is one of the drawbacks of rebuilding here. We created shade by Flame in the form of an umbrella, and now a vintage style awning which keeps the sun off of her sides and a cool breeze passing through. During the hot summer days of Colorado it would be intolerable to live here without some shade.
Will our two trees come back fully? We don’t know. They officially have been given a stay of execution. For now. The nice young man who will be taking 20+ other trees knows what he is doing. He was 15 when his family lost their home to the High Meadow fire. Hired out to cut down neighbors’ trees during their recovery process after proving himself on his own land, he then formed a business appropriately called “Splintered Forest”. At 27, he carries wisdom beyond his years. He patiently followed me around as I became more and more willing to let more and more trees go. They call them ‘widow makers’ after a fire. You never know when one might drop either while you sleep or innocently pass by. Of course, I ok’d the ones by Flame, but then expanded my consideration to those overhanging the driveway, the future home site, and David’s storage container “man cave”. We will utilize all the remains by chipping for erosion prevention and chopping for firewood. If they have any life left in them, these trees will not die in vain.
I feel relieved to put ourselves and our forest health in this young mans hands. I am happy he really gets it. We are gathering our team of those who live up here, have lost homes in the past or have some connection to our particular area. This feels good. We don’t get pat answers or our concerns swept under the carpet. We also don’t have to explain too much.
I asked this man what the biggest life lesson he received after his fire. His reply, “It’s all just stuff.” A good metaphor for life. It’s all just stuff. Sometimes I will interact with it like that – and other times I will attempt to organize the un-organizable, just like herding cats.
Last night I shared with my women’s group my realization that this time is precious. It’s dirty, raw, ash-covered and tremendously challenging – and it’s also precious. It will be like no other (hopefully). Next year this time, we will be rejoining the majority of US citizens by living in a house, and life will be different. We won’t have to say, “Excuse me” to pass by each other. We will have a sink larger than a shoebox. We will take showers standing up. And, we will even have a washing machine so we don’t have to do the smell test and ponder – can I get away with one more day?
My phone rings and it’s my neighbor Jeanie who talked to Sharon and heard about my dress dilemma. Now living in Denver, Jeanie offers to drop my dress off for me to save me a trip. Ahhhhh. It’s the little things. I discover a much easier way to do dishes in my shoebox sink. Ahhhhh. Another thing. My phone rings again and it’s a man wanting the former owner of my number to paint his garage floor. I kindly explain that he must have a wrong number. He responds, “Well, do you want to paint my floor?” We chuckle together and move on with our day. Ahhhhh. It really is the little things.
I am part of a bigger whole. I am not alone. I have my peeps. And, meet more along the way. We understand each other as we walk through this fire called life and the resulting ups and downs. We will stumble and fall along the way. Then, we will look up for an instant, and perhaps catch a glance of green in a towering pine that once was grand and hopefully one day will be again.