This morning I was greeted with a text. She was asleep downstairs! The cab was unable to drive down our road due to snow so she walked (cross country ski gear and all) herself up Lincoln Hills Drive and found our home...at three in the morning. My sweet, badass, word-loving, wilderness inhaling, bread baking, full celebration friend was coming to celebrate our snow day!
The day had that sort of glow of perfection. Of potential and in-the-moment unknown. There is this weird anxiety that I feel with my kiddos when they are spending time with someone new that I really want to love and appreciate them. I want them to be their most vibrant, creative, weird selves. I don't want them whining or fighting, clingy or high-maintenance. I want them fabulous and impressive, all custom-made perfection.
And, goshum's golly, they kinda pulled through today. We stayed in jammies and moved slowly. We drank lots of tea and got crafty (thanks Nici!). Becca put on her cross-country skis and Elie donned her downhills. Soli and I bundled and we hauled and pushed and skied ourselves silly in the backyard. Later as the four of us soaked in the hot tub, I could sense how connected my babies felt to their new friend. Solomon could not stop asking Becca questions. Do you like mountain lions better or pumbas? What would you rather be, a grizzly bear or a wolverine? Eliana was all long, wet curls and deep thoughts. Every fifteen or so minutes, the three of them would hurl their bodies from the tub and race into the snow. Face plants. Belly plants. Booty plants. I sat back and smiled, took it all in, felt so proud of my little crew, my lovely and honest friend, our conversations spilling into hours and hours of lost details and uncovered bits of story.
And then I came upstairs and checked my phone. Jeff had texted something about avalanches. Joellen left a sad sounding message again, referencing avalanches. And I had that sinking feeling. Something bad had happened out there. And while the biggest woe of my day was shoveling the deck, was finding Solomon a second set of dry gloves or doing the breakfast dishes, an avalanche, a real, godforsaken avalanche, had demolished a home a block from my old house. A block from where I work. Debris spilling on to my street, the street where my baby was born.
Why does life do this constant shake up? Why is it that -- always -- light must come with dark. As Bobby pieced the details together for me on the phone, as I read the article in the Missoulian, I felt a little part of me exit the present. I went into fix-it mode with dinner preparations and bath wrangling. I moved into a new speed, a frantic, manic speed that I hadn't moved in all day. In lieu of deeply feeling the sadness that is a little boy being buried for forty-five minutes--buried in snow for forty-five minutes -- in the neighborhood that you call your own, that holds your heart, the neighborhood that represents all things safe and lovely and pastoral and -- crash -- they hear a loud rumbling and -- bang -- a home is destroyed.
So now I'm up here alone, the quiet cold settling in around me. I check on my babies one more time, hold them extra close. I feel so thankful that my girl is asleep downstairs, a beautiful friend, another strong and capable grown-up to help assuage the anxiety of being home alone when the weather turns wild and out-of-control. My closest reference is my fear of earthquakes, how at any moment, the whole world can shift, can be shaken down to the ground, obliterated by one of nature's whims.
I write, "whim" and it feels so passive, so blase, so random and vacuous. What is happening outside my window is not whimsical. It's cold and wild and real. My mountain, the mountain that I hiked just a few days ago, that blue sky, that lone tree, that's a living and breathing universe with her own pressures and realities. A release has to happen after the sudden ascendance of pressure. A release into the unknown.
So tonight, I release into the unknown. To the joys and unknowns. To the wild and unabashed, honest and true.