A Touch of Grey

Fires are raging all over Colorado and the West. Smoke clouds fill the sky. With record breaking heat and winds blowing like stink, more and more people across Colorado are being evacuated from various fires and the High Park fire, still growing, is far from contained. Mother Nature is not cooperating one bit.

It might be easy to get discouraged about the state of the State, or the state of the world. It might be easy to slip into the darkness and the funk. Well, yes, I have to say, it is.

California was a lovely break from reality. I realize reality lives there too, but for me over the three days, reality was suspended. Someone cooked for me, I slept in a real bed, showered standing up, flushed the toilet at whim, hung my clothes in a spacious closet – and the best moments were wandering in and out of shops in the California breeze. The weather was perfect; the respite refreshing; the trip worth the trip.Since arriving “home” the past few days have been a bit bumpy – and yes, I have had a relapse and am adding quotation marks again. Yesterday began well. I attended a 6:30am 12-step meeting. The crowd was small and we all had a chance to share. I acknowledged my fragile state of mind coupled with my desire to not be as ‘thrown’ by things as much as I have been. I have to admit, I have been gathering some compelling evidence for things not going exactly my way. Besides the obvious, not much has seemed to “flow”. Last week I drowned my Mac; the troubles continue on the trailer (leaking water pipes, leaking sewage, mouse infestation); then I left my new precious journal on the airplane. And much much more but right now it feels like blah blah blah to write it – and to say it.
Later in the day, my mettle was maxed as the temperature hit 90+ degrees in Conifer . And in Flame, well, let’s just say two words “convection oven”. And for some strange reason, we have more biting flies than ever before. These dive bombing buggers buzzed and bit mercilessly, leading to welts. Coupled with the oppressive heat my boys panted and paced the day away. The moment it cooled enough, we huddled inside until the wind picked up and they became convinced something lurked outside that was coming to kill us all. Soothing them with words of love and wisdom had no effect and even snuggling on my narrow bed didn’t cut it. Will these sweet dogs bounce back once they return to a ‘normal’ living environment? Have I taken years off their life? Have I taken years off my own?To say the least, I have been questioning the wisdom of my push to live in a trailer. To say the most, I question my sanity. As these fires burn all around, we ‘homelosers’ (as we affectionately call our group) can’t help but be affected. It weighs on our hearts and in our minds. It reminds us of where we were, how far we have come and how much further there is to go. We send love and condolences to people all over the west who are dealing with fires – living in the unknown for extended periods of time; catching the first glimpse of the devastation of their dreams; the monumental loss and sadness buried beneath the layers of shock and disbelief. The early days of this adventure are a blur. Now in the “whatever these days should be called” stage, we are no longer numb. We are tired. We are fried, really.With all the sadness floating through the air like soot, I grasp for the small miracles, such as the 7-year old in the airport singing proudly, “I am doing the happy dance, I am doing the happy dance.” A lovely moment for sure. Then quickly the question emerges of why we sensible adults don’t we do that. We all know that at some point in the not too distant future a “shush” from his parents (or some other authority figure or peer) will really shush him and he won’t sing aloud in public ever again, and maybe even in private either. But for this moment, I smile broadly at his parents in celebration and with the hope of encouraging their encouragement of his bold expression.

Last night before the wind kicked up, I soaked in the setting sun as it melted into scorched trees against bright green grass. Later, on 3am pee dash outside, I caught the moon – a sliver of what appeared to be burnt orange. I am looking. And, I am seeing. And, as I have said all along, this is a fine line. I simply will not force myself to be somewhere I am not in this process. And, a little looking for silver lining never hurt anyone.

Shortly, my women’s group will be here breakfast. I will ask them to remind me of what is beautiful as they oooh and ahhh over the loveliness of Flame before the heat takes over and cooks our brains. Sitting on my bed and writing, ipod playing, coffee at my side, blanket on my lap, I remember what I like about my cozy little trailer. In making my music choices this morning, my ipod stuck on “Touch of Grey” by the Grateful Dead playing it no less than 5 times in a row. I listened carefully each time, a sign sent from above.

Then I hear a whoosh of an email arriving and I read words from my dear neighbor saying the same things I was feeling. Happy to receive her words but not happy to hear that she is in pain, I write back sending love, understanding and gratitude. And, I may call her back and sing out-loud, in honor of that little boy at the airport.

Sorry that you feel that way, the only thing there is to say is…
Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.
We will get by, we will get by, we will get by, we will survive.

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