#1. "The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." –Robert Frost
So...it’s been a rough week, physically and mentally. And if you live in Lake County, chances are your week has been the same. I don’t know what I expected, but three weeks after the Northern California Valley Fire destroyed much of our community, I thought things would get back to being at least a tad normal for the Gill Family. We have a house to live in, after all. We have family and friends that continue to check and make sure we have everything we need. We have financial support, a place for Molly, and so many special people shining their love down on us. We are feeling so loved and so fortunate.
So you can see how I would begin to think that we might be able to do a "real" grocery shop and cook a "real" meal…get back to work and school…start creating lists for the insurance company…writing thank you cards...and maybe get a good night’s sleep. Right?!
Well, Monday hit and so did the flu, hour-long commutes to school, realizations that CAG had no calculator or ticket for his SAT test, unexpected appointments with FEMA and the insurance company, and Mr. TBG spent another day at the Local Assistance Center, trying to figure out what was what (and that’s the short list).
Then Friday hit, and I found myself jumping out of my skin. When you’ve recently fled your home because flames were soaring in trees high over your head, it’s not a good thing to hear the smoke alarm go off during your morning shower. Turns out that my hot, relaxing shower set off every smoke alarm, and forty-five minutes of my morning was filled with ear-piercing shrieks while I raced around making phone calls, looking for alarm codes, climbing ladders and using a broomstick to push buttons on the ceiling, all while dripping wet and wrapped only in a towel that kept falling to the floor. I really thought that this crazy naked lady was not going to make it one more day!
And then I saw the acorns.
I was headed to work. I stopped at my sister’s house to pick up some respirator masks (you know, for the sifting), and I was in such a hurry that I almost missed them. It was only when I started backing out that I heard crunching under my tires, and looked up to see that her entire driveway was absolutely covered with them. Hundreds had fallen from the massive oak tree that has always been there, right next to her house. It’s silly, but I had this urge to gather up as many as I could, hold them in my hands, hug them, and take them with me. And so I did.
You see, a few weeks back, I had seen this awesome quote racing through my Facebook feed…and it came back to me in a flash:
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." –Robert Frost
Perfect timing, perfect quote. Right?!
I needed those acorns in that exact moment. You see, there are so many tears right now. So many people have lost so much. I didn’t even recognize my street the first time we returned. I looked at it and thought, “This can’t be our home. It just can’t be this bad.” I must have said it out loud, because I remember JAG telling me something like, “Yeah, Mom – this is our street.” We’ve been told that Evergreen Drive is one of the blackest areas on the mountain. “Evergreen”, the street sign reads - with not a speck of green in sight. It hurts really, really bad. And it’s like that everywhere, for everyone. I was at the store today and the family in front of me had lost their home. Come to find out moments later, so had the check-out guy. And I swear, two people back from me was a gal purchasing large plastic bins and hangers and such...and I knew from the contents of her cart that she had lost it all, too. Our hearts go out to the brave men and women who fought so hard to protect us. They risked so much, and many of them lost their homes, too. At least one is still fighting for his life. The "hurt" is everywhere you go right now, and it's so easy to get caught up in the sadness of it all.
Yesterday, though, the acorns served as a reminder. They reminded me to keep on a mission - a mission for finding beauty in that which surrounds us. And that’s a blessing. Because we all know that when we rush to work, to school, run here and there...while we scurry to finish projects and meet deadlines… an entire day, week, even a month can go by without us noticing and appreciating one single beautiful thing that's staring us right in the face. Right now, it's harder than ever to open our eyes and find the beautiful things that fill the place we call home. But I am confident that if we are patient, and if we slow down and look hard enough, we will find what we are looking for.
And so, this blog will be the story of how we rebuild and find that beauty again. It will be the story of how the shiny red tricycle, which was waiting for a future grandchild, lost all of its “shine” - but survived the drop of a two story house. It will be the story of how family treasures rose from the ashes and continued to be everlasting symbols of strength and love. It will be a story of gentle reminders that we need to “Let Go”... and the trials and tribulations of figuring out just how the heck we can do that.
I've never written a blog before, and I'm not sure if I'll be a "good" blog writer (that's my way of apologizing in advance if it turns out to be a terrible idea!). It just feels like the right thing to do, because these are important moments. Moments that we want our grandbabies to read about. Moments where we can find joy in planting acorns, and watching them rise to the occasion.
Much love to all.
P.S. Huge thanks to our friend, Amber, for following us home and capturing these beautiful moments on camera. She's amazing.