Storms and peaceful interludes

Wind is whipping and howling against the house, driving the rain hard against the windows. Gusts are forecast to top 65mph. The south ridge often protects us from hard winds but tonight the wind races down the basin leading southeastward up into the Cascade mountains. A pause then an onslaught from the southwest.

The weatherman said that swirling winds cause the most damage. He mentioned that many people were in the stores stocking up on flashlights, food and water for the almost certainty of losing electricity tonight.

Seriously, except for situations where someone’s been ill or away from home an extended time, lives in a dorm, etc, who doesn’t have at least a few days’ supply of food and water on hand that they should need to dash to the store as the outskirts of a storm begin to strike?

For my part, if our house plunges into darkness, I’ll pick up the flashlight next to my chair and head for bed. I’m tired enough to sleep for a good 10 hours. (Ha, I haven’t soundly slept a night through in ages. More than likely I’ll spend some time listening to the wind rocking the house.)

After an exhausting weekend I’m looking forward to climbing between the sheets. Climb. Literally. Ed built our bed frame high enough to store boxes under, which given our lack of storage space is a good thing. Rather, it was until the old mattress wore out and we bought one that would be helpful for Ed’s back. That thing is Mt Everest thick! I’m short. I practically need to execute a high jump maneuver to get on top of the bed. Great for putting little Violet down for her naps and no bending over to left her chunky little body.

Back to the weekend…
Friday’s tragic news was hard to comprehend, hard to bear. Hard to move forward from. I was thankful for a packed day that provided mind-numbing action. Creekside Strings met late afternoon for our routine every other week practice, a crucial one that we couldn’t postpone as we’re scheduled to play at a retirement home next Friday. We gathered solemnly expressing that it felt hard to even want to play music at such a time. Especially hard hit was the music teacher of the local middle school. But play we did. As the 90 minutes came to a close he expressed how helpful playing music together had been.

I had wondered how our little church would be able to have the acoustic Christmas music evening that was planned for the 15th. How could we sing and play cheerful, hopeful music in the midst of overwhelming sadness? Driving back home from practice Friday evening, along the quiet, dark gravel road leading over the ridge I thought of those little children (Oh! The little children. My heart bleeds.) and suddenly I knew without a shadow of doubt that they wouldn’t want others not to go on with their lives, to celebrate Christmas.

I could envision little chins quivering, eyes filling with tears at being told that “we’re too sad, we can’t sing the songs, we can’t play the tunes that I know you love. It doesn’t matter that you were looking forward to lots of yummy finger foods and hot chocolate. This is a sad time.”  The now is everything to a child, treasured events eagerly anticipated. We must hold out hope to them. Hope, steadfast courage and faith that we will get through these sad times.

Saturday morning I baked Christmas breads for friends, wound up a skein of handspun that I’d finished and washed the day before, and wrapped it in a box then went to an early lunch to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
Dec 15, 12 009Early afternoon Ed & I joined our in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary party held at the vineyard where our daughter and their son were married. It was the second huge anniversary gathering two weeks apart each with a couple hundred guests mingling. These huge celebrations of family, friends and neighbors really brings home the advantage and continuity of living an entire life in one small community! Having moved so much as children both Ed and I were never able to first hand experience what it means to sink deep roots.
Dec 15, 12 012-001(Always surrounded by family and friends, I had a hard time getting a clear shot of the couple. There’s no doubt these two are still very much in love fifty years, seven children and twenty grandchildren later.)

Ed and I parted ways for a couple hours, he off to a Christmas party for the the weekly workers at the community supper, I to gather all my gear and head up to the church to get ready for the evening of music.
Dec 15, 12 021Music stands, mics and chairs in place we’re ready to make a joyful noise in honor of the birth of our Saviour, God stepping down into this dark world, that we might know the reality of His everlasting love, even in the middle of anguishing hard times when there are no pat answers. Apparently many who came also felt the need to turn their minds and hearts to Christmas as they kept requesting songs for four hours, until voices and fingers were too weary to continue. Dec 15, 12 026-001
A quiet calm, the absence of wind and rain lashing at the house prevailed throughout much of the writing of this post.  The respite is over, the wind and rains are back and increasing in strength. It is a good time to go to bed.