September 28th, 2006
This update just arrived from Maria:
Hello to all of you, especially those of you who haven’t heard from me in a while. I have been letting go of a lot of things, and one of those things has been, temporarily, e-mail. Sorry for that. I have been thinking about how to update people and I know this is the righttool.
So. How’s it going? Well, that is the questionâ?¦
After the fire of June 5th that catapulted us out of our former life, I spent the first month frantically doing things, or trying to do things. The next month I spent intentionally not doing things. The month after that I spent sorting through the contents of the barnwhile simultaneously sifting through the contents of my brain.
And now it is the next month and I find myself part of team of people poised to build a house. There’s Hillcrest of Clark’s Grove, Majestic Homes of Worthington, Jakel’s Well Drilling of Northfield, Kittelson Heating and Plumbing of Wanamingo, Howie Electric of Dennison, Lumber Mart of Kenyon, and Nerstrand Excavation Inc. of, you guessed it, Nerstrand, to name most, but not all of the many, poised, team members. We are all waiting for the permit(s) to come through. Any day now. Any time now. Just wait, be patient.
This is a hard month. Each of these months has been hard. The first was hard psychologically. The second was hard spiritually. The third was hard physically. And this is hard a month â?¦ I don’t know exactlyhow. I’m still in it.
As I worked my way through boxes and piles in the barn I found these things from our past life. Life before the Fire. Everything in the house was carried out in one day. On June 8th it was like this huge outpouring of love, and something like 50 people showed up, and somehow out of a building that was deemed a “Total Loss” came a thousand things, carried out in the loving hands of all these people. These were the things I sifted and sorted through during the month of
I found Thea’s viola, looking like a work of art, but a “total loss” as a musical instrument. And the prize model ship from Peter’s collection, streaked with black smoke but still striking an elegant pose. Here is Ches’ excellent rip-stop nylon kite, bought in 1988, a dingy coat of smoke and barn dust coating originally bold colors of the fabric. And Rose, the giant mask we made for a parade and stored in our basement, is lording it over the barn from a support beam,looking really, none the worse for wear.
These things I sifted through. As I held each thing, touched it, considered it, assigned it a value, I let go of the past and imagined a future. I imagined these things having a place in our new life. I tried to be generous. After all, each of these things was a survivor of sorts. I found it difficult to be sympathetic toward thesestrangely familiar, homeless items.
We have all managed to find a toehold in this new life I like to call the Present, a little pun. Our son gained his footing by building two beautiful structures: a loft in the barn and a bridge on our trail. His next project will be a doghouse. Thea has established her new life as a college student at St. Olaf, and is stepping her way through each day with typical grace. It’s strange, this transition she is making lands her where she planned to be, but she arrived there from a place she could never have imagined. Ches and I have been able to ground ourselves by going, daily, out to The Farm, (as we now refer to the place we used to call Home). There we have been tending the garden, pruning willows, mingling with our pets, mowing the trails, harvestingfruits and vegetables, imagining our new houseâ?¦ making ready.
I notice and appreciate each day, the gifts people have offered to help us on our journey to the Present: the tea pot in which I brew my morning tea, the colorful socks I don before going to work, the cooler I’m using to store vegetables in the barn, the lawn chair I sit in to watch the sunset, the cup I drink out of at dinner, the table we sit around, the computer, the books, the coats, the love, the attention, the information, the connections and suggestions, the sympathy and the stories, the listening and the caring, the community, which is a wordI understand better now.
One of you sent me this poem over the Internet:
There is a Brokenness
There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
Beyond all grief which leads to joy,
Out of which depth emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
Too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of whose darkness we are sanctified into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart
As we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable
I appreciate this poem, this poem that to me describes the incredible diligence it takes to be present, and why it’s worth it. And now, to The Future, which is where I hitch my dreams at night.
Our house may be delivered as soon as Oct. 20th. The construction phase may be over as soon as Nov. 1st. We may have a work weekend to which you may be invited as soon as Nov. 4th. After which time we may be serving up a great big Booya for all of you who care to come andsee what has risen out of the ashes.
I’ll keep you posted!