The problem with me and blogging these last couple of years is simple and systemic: you have to be able to sit still long enough to write something down. Sitting still works while you are in thinking mode. Doesn’t work at all in doing mode. The systemic part may come from my unfortunate mix of English/Teutonic blood with Irish/French/Celtic blood. I am at once a romantic and a realist; I hope for miracles but respect the point of mortality to be a matter of handling our own fate. The second I sit down, I feel guilty for not standing up. If I stand up, I think of all the things I should be doing while I am sitting down. I think it’s important to live in the moment as long as you are preserving the past and preparing for the future. See? I’m very simple.
I cannot read and write at the same time, which should not be understood as a problem of the moment, but of phases. If I am reading, I don’t write. I went through a near decade of reading hardly anything at all, and in that time, I wrote reams. Now I am reading, and – as I said – I can’t seem to sit down and write. Not stories. Not philosophy. And Facebook doesn’t help; pithy statements made in the moment seem to satiate the compulsion to work words into constructs. If you are lost reading this, you are no more lost than I.
But today I have lived a little story, and if I hurry, I can get it down before I quit in the middle – and this is it:
There is nothing quite so satisfying and glorious as a working Sabbath. We had one decades ago when the snow was dumped on us by vat-load in an unexpected and early spring storm. This was on a Sunday. The word went out: church, all three hours plus various meetings – cancelled. Instead, we were sent out on the streets to dig folks out. And here, where a several-hundred-person congregation covers a matter of four city blocks, that meant one incredible frozen street festival.
Those who had garden tractors or plows on their four wheelers – whatever – gleefully hauled them out. And out came the snow-blowers and the shovels and whatever else we could get our hands on. The children were out there with the grown-ups, everybody descending first on the drives and walks of those least likely to be able to dig themselves out – then on the clogged streets themselves. Glorious was the word for it – like a holiday with dear family. A party lubricated by benevolence. Dickens himself wouldn’t have stinted, if he’d been there, but would have joined in with many a hearty jest and good-natured snow ball.
It is fun, in other words, when you leave the theory behind and indulge in an orgy of glad application.
(“Is that the story?” they asked one another in sotto tones, exchanging grimaces.)
This is the story:
Early this morning a beloved friend of mine, adopted sister, horse maven/mentor, was headed back from a rather grueling day and night, hauling a soul-and-gear-stuffed three horse slant behind her rowdy truck. She was on her way home in south valley, but needed to stop by her winter pasture to pick up a few needed meds and things, and so began to pull off the freeway at our exit. But the truck, hauling all that weight, chose that moment to fall apart – clutch refused to function, and there she was, holding the steering wheel in a rigid grip while nearly sitting on the gear-stick, trying to force the truck to take the curve in a reasonable gear. Grinding. Hashing. Screaming – she got it down to a controllable state, then headed down Center toward her place, driving grimly and with terrible care – until the truck gave out entirely.
Which happened directly across the street from – are you ready? – MY pasture. That was the first miracle. The second was that she had my keys with her, so she could unload the ponies, walk them down my drive, and stick them in my (third miracle) empty but cloze-upable trailer parking enclosure.
The fourth was that the dogs, sleeping beside my bed, heard her text come in on my phone and dragged me half off the bed to wake me. I was deep under. And the odd thing was, I woke up with my friend’s special iPhone ring in my head, even though I’m pretty sure every text comes in with the same alert sound. Anyway, I blurrily ordered the dogs to cease and desist, and then noticed the phone was lit up and groped for it. Couldn’t read the text, of course – no glasses. No brain. Still blinking off shreds of dreams.
When I could focus, it still took me three times to understand the text: she was parked across the street from me. Hope I didn’t mind her using the parking “pad.” So I called her. I probably should have waited two minutes – at least until my English had fully loaded for the day. And we worked through the whole story, a chunk at a time.
She hadn’t even had a chance to pull the rig entirely out of the road before she was dead. So she was sitting in a rig tricked out with big orange emergency cones, hoping people on the way down to the lake would be able to see her bumpers clearly. And she had come to a stop right in front of a house in which a man who knows everything about trucks and diesels and clutches happens to live (and he’s a sweetheart, too), and while she was waiting for the tow truck, he even offered her – a stranger – the use of his truck so she could get home.
But she waited for ME. Why? Because I HAVE HORSE STUFF. This is SO COOL. I have horse stuff, and I even know some things, and I have a pasture that just happened to drop out of heaven RIGHT AT THE SPOT OF HER DISTRESS. And my Suburban is up and running – was even already hitched to our trailer, which wasn’t actually an advantage since we had to pull hers, but still – my Suburban has a trailer hitch – and I COULD HELP!!! Is that a feeling, or what? To find that you are not only adequate to help, but actually in a very good position to do so? That I could KNOW WHAT TO DO????? And that I had plenty of people to cover my church jobs this morning.
One after another, things clicked into place, and I was able to pay someone I owe beyond hope of return, at least something of that debt. I missed church, which is a big deal for us LDS folks – church is a pretty solid and regular institution for us – but it was like missing the LAB in order to do the real JOB. I am thinking in capitals – that’s why you’re seeing them.
Anyway, there you are. That’s the story. We got the things she needed, and hitched up and drove however many tens of miles it is down south to her home place and got her lovely animals and self home safely.
I loved it. I think the key here was not that I was actually needed (which is not something I aspire to actually), but that I was equipped to step up. How often do you get to feel like you are being asked by heaven to do something you are absolutely ready to do?
So there you have it, a working Sabbath and a neat little train of miracles to boot.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
There. A blog entry. Oh, and a few free bonus cuts:
How We Travel or Majesty Awaiting the Return of his Wife (from the ladies’ room). If you look closely, you can see the self portrait of said wife.
And this is a shot I took too late. We have these incredible Daisies – I think they are Michaelmas Daisies, but since I don’t know what those really are, I could be wrong. Anyway, they grow at the very end of May, beginning of June, and in the gloaming, they glow. Too late, I realized that I had waited past the height of their loveliness. Still, they continued to glow in the evening as the light dissolved into shadow. So I tried to shoot them. And this actually looks quite right. So I share them with you. Bedraggled as they now are. Which reminds me of someone I know . . .