Aftermath 8.24.15

Yesterday they lifted the evacuation order and we came home. Since Friday the evacuation has been voluntary. After calculating the combination of rain and circling uncertainty, we decided to spend the weekend with friends. During the daytime we were able to get home and spend a little time getting what we needed. Those small moments of normalcy made things feel not so foreign.

Now we are home.

Every loud noise, plane, siren and high hitting wave – I hear and feel it. There are stretches where things seem normal. There are moments I wonder if the rest of the mountain is going to come crashing down. I was washing my favorite orange coffee cup this morning and found myself wondering what it would be like if a mass of trees and mud slammed through my wall.

I think about the families of the people who are lost. I think about how every day somewhere natural disasters happen. Last week, the area of Oregon where I grew up was destroyed by a fire. People are displaced. People go through so much more and lose more than we have. The only thing that makes this significant is that it is happening here.

Today was sunny, superb and deceptive. The excited tourists getting off the cruise ship probably have no idea what had happened. Lola and I walked along the road, the beach and I was amazed at the beauty of it all. The water. The fog. The trees. The eerie new slash down the mountainside. It made me feel better and simultaneously sent a jolt of electricity down my spine.

I have done my best to handle this. During the weekend, the Biologist and I ran errands and wandered around – bleary eyed and a little lost. We  commiserated with our neighbors who seem to feel the same way. Adrift, waiting and just tired. So incredibly tired. I’ve kept it together….until at work this morning someone asked me how I was doing and I absolutely lost it.

Now we are home.

I want to tell you how wonderful everyone has been. About all the volunteers, the meals, the money they raised for the families who lost loved ones. Simple, outpourings of support. The heightened sense of community, the free beers at the brewery, the generosity of friends. I want to be a cheerleader and post some inspiring quote, or forward on an optimistic, strong, empowering we-shall-overcome mantra.

But I can’t.

Because right now, I can’t feel. My heart is tired, my emotion raw and capacity zero.

Over the weekend, when everything was closed off we walked up the hill and saw the mound of debris, mud and trees. I stood there feeling so small, letting the rain soak into my bones thinking ten million things and nothing congruosly. The fires in Oregon, my sisters wedding that I missed, all the plans that havechanged, the people who aren’t coming home, the volunteers, the mud, the helicopter overhead – and the hum of my heart that keeps on beating.

Now we are home. I know that it’s going to be better – it already is. Thank you for listening. This outlet helps more than you know.

“I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he’d say, “that’s the way it goes, but don’t forget, it goes the other way too.”