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We are back. Sitting on my deck now, listening to the rain on the roof and watching the clouds. I’ve not waited for the darkness to come with such a feeling of need for quite some time. The cloak to wrap the mind and soul and shield us from the painful days, days that weigh and will linger on the heart forever more. Max is quite content to lay with his head in his momma’s lap. We are content with our tea and the rain. The untimely and drenching rain. As I watch my friend with her steaming cup I know. I know she is thinking this. It is the one thing she said the whole drive back, was about the rain being always untimely and “why can’t Nature get something like that more right.” I know she was being facetious intentionally; she is a person of good strength and humour.
It is funny, so funny how our minds prepare. Before she came I was so anxious and worried that I could not cry first. Determined myself I would not cry first. Had this little visual and plot for the day. We’d eat our lunch and drive out, walk around. We were both in tears as she came through my door and I was grateful. So grateful I no longer needed to worry about crying first, no need to be the rock I had anxiously prepared all morning to be. My mind had not and could not prepare me for the overwhelming love and gratitude I felt to wrap my arms around her.
I had no idea what to expect. My nostrils and lungs have been filled by the smoke for days, working in it as blazes in the distance consumed. I’ve seen plenty of pictures and videos of here on the devastation and scorched earth, the bits of blackened trees that still stand, the remains of homes and cars, the flames, the sky, the brave brave souls who are there fighting courageously and relentlessly fueled by their need to help their fellow man, the refugees at the center where I take the food bags with their hollow faces and tear stained eyes, some looking so blank and soulless. Defeated. She wins. Mother Nature always wins. There is nothing the Fates have written so deeply in stone as this. It is in every cell of our beings and every cell of all living things and all existing structure of Hers by design, and oh what a design it is. She wins. Until this very day I always said I did not want to be cremated. I have a fear, very deep irrational fear of burning. As if we would be aware of turning into ash. Now...I have no words to describe what I have seen today. The smell. I know it will never be as deeply as my friend, nor as deeply as that of many others, but I will forever be haunted by this day. The ash and remains. The symbol of rebirth and starting new it is. For what else could it be without that hope? We did not see a semblance of Riley. I had finally come around after writing somewhere else here before she came how that could be closure for her. Now, she goes on. With Max. Sweet soft Max. I will not ask if she has hope for Riley to come out of the ash and haze still. We must all have our deep and unshared hopes within our hearts where they are safe and untouched by reality.
Bozeman is a super neat place to be. She should stop at dee-o-gee and get some fancy pupcakes and cookies for your dogs. They bake them themselves. They are a fancy dog store and I admit I have bought a sweater for my poodle there. Don't judge, he gets really cold in the winters. I even have boots and coats for my dogs because they love a good walk, regardless of the season and the snow builds up round here. You don't want ice chunks in between their toes. We bake our own puppy cookies and muffins. In fact, we get a barksgiving meal delivered to us from an online company at Thanksgiving. It's so cute, they have all the favorites, a pot pie, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing and pie for dessert. It's so big we split it between the two dogs for two dinners. Can you tell that we pamper our pooches? We don't have kids so we like to spend our cash in our furry family. Without smoking I have extra cash (after this oral surgery, anyway) so I'm trying to decide what to do with it. Maybe I'll use it towards my ocean vacation.
Ahhh...lovely and wise Susan. I’m so happy you feel that way. It is a Tribe day today. My thanks are to you and all of my Tribe.
Ohh...you have left.
Daughter left Bozeman around 5am. Will be good to have her safely home and am expecting her and her friend around 6. I’ll be leaving the Coast around 1. Have to check tide tables and see about going out in a minute here. Took the dogs out for a short walk around 5 and went back to bed for a bit. Kind of nice to actually have a bed here. I generally am by myself and sneak off in the woods with my pack and bag and call it home for the night. Bed is nice too though and certainly drier and warmer. Will look for a purple Starfish this morning for you Tiny if the tide is in my favor. It’s rainy and windy. Nice. Keeps most of the people away, though does make the water something to be more mindful of. No plans for getting washed away by a sneaker for me today though. Have you thought about what area of the Ocean you and hubby will go to? It’s all beautiful. I’ve been along the whole West Coast from Neah Bay in Washington down to Big Sur (stunning) and then some SoCal Coast and Baja. I’m partial to Oregon Coast from Manzanita up to Hug Point particularly. There’s an area near Devil’s Punch Bowl that is nice. Have taken Daughter car camping down at Sunset Bay quite a bit and that is lovely. Saw a lot of Whales near there. You can see them anywhere along the Coast during migration. Orcas up in Washington more. It’s all pretty. As much as I love it I’m not sure I want to live right on the Coast. Incessant wind it seems. I do suspect I’ll be within an hour or so of some Ocean no matter where I land some day though as it does seem to be a need for me. Always a calling there. Oregon will be home for a couple more years at any rate. If it doesn’t burn up one way or another.
I'd like to go in oregon or Washington because it's so close and I've heard those states are nice. You've really got me excited about oregon, so maybe there. I'm pretty jacked about the whole idea of seeing things and being able to touch and hear the water. I think I'll find it soothing and interesting. I'm glad max liked the beach. I was hoping he would. One of our dogs loves his puppy pool and the sprinkler. When we water the plants outside he runs in and out of the sprayer so I've always wanted to take him somewhere. The nearby lakes don't like dogs in the water because they poop and pee and it's not hygenic. They have lots of signs posted. We will have to take him somewhere further away or more remote. How is your friend? Is she holding strong ? I hope so. I was thinking of her this morning and how brave she is. What a woman of strength. No pressure on the starfish, I know you've got things to do and people to see, and puppies to care for. Enjoy and relax, you deserve it.
Im sorry Tiny. No Starfish today. Was High Tide at 8:50am where I was and pretty rough. Amazing forces though. Left a bit earlier so my friend could meet with insurance folks in time. Saw this guy about 6 blocks from my house. Had to stop and wait for him. Poor bugger looked confused. Don’t usually see them early afternoon, but fairly often on my night walks. Come to think of it have never seen them in the neighbourhood during the day. Wonder if he is one chased out by fires and not city street smart yet... Nice big lone male he was.
Ooops. Side ways...let me try that again for the picture.
That’s better. Poor fella looked lost enough with out me posting him sideways. Little blurry I see. Looks clear on phone. Is a Coyote in case you can’t tell.
Look at you, living in the wild! I've got bears and you've got coyotes. I didn't realize you see them all the time in pdx. The fire must have scared him out to see him like that, I hope he's not hurt. I do worry about living things. Don't worry about the starfish, I know the perfect suctioned sea star will show himself when appropriate and you'll be able to snap a portrait. I ll be so pleased when you get it. In the meantime, I'll sit tight and think of good names for him. More max pictures in the mean time?
Wow....the description of you guys coming back to the house after a very surreal and empty afternoon; there really just are not words to describe the echo I am hearing; the wretched stillness and then the sound of a rain too late in coming.
I know you never thought of publishing...but this description of what went on in your head....I really think it would be healing for so many who are at a pure loss of what to think or feel beyond grief. Seriously. There is beauty in those words.
So very devastated for your friend. You are truly the best to be with her during this time.