Eventually, sleep comes.
Summer began at Lama's house just like it should. "Where Chloe?" Walking through the kitchen, counting chicks as I am want to do, I notice that one tow headed youngin' is missing from the pack of my lounging in the bean bags, summer smelling oh so hot and tired brood. Good thing the showers were free because I had a group to line up for Saturday night washes in a bit and I was grateful to finally have my own out of the way. Still rubbing the last bit of after shower lotion into my arm I notice that the room had grown awfully quiet as kid and adult alike came to the realization that no one knew where she was. A bit of discussion gave way to the beginnings of panic in her mom and dad as bathrooms were hurridly checked and bigger kids were scooted out the front and back doors for a look in the yards. Nothing. Hmmmmm....it never looks good when you lose one, does it?
Her daddy, who had been napping off his broken leg on and off all afternoon, had scrambled for his crutches and was already out the front door calling her name. I siddled up beside him and whispered...."Hush. I think I know where she is," and wiggled my finger at him to follow me over to the edge of the pond. "Look over there, across the pond...what do you see?"
"A tree, mom. I'm looking for Chloe, not a tree." Ahhh, how soon we can forget.
"Look closer. That's not just any ole tree, that's a fine tree. Two of it's biggest branches lean way over the pond. I figured she'd find it soon enough." Sure enough, if you stared hard at the tree long enough, you could see glimpses of pink scurrying around. Lo'Bug was about half way up, nesting herself comfy for a summer's rest. I put my fingers to my mouth and broke a banshee whistle that would carry a ways. Couple of seconds later, our pink wrapped princess appeared at the bottom of the tree, saw her daddy waving, and started her trudge home along the bank of the pond....kicking up the last of the summer day as she went. Now, there's a bath that needs to be had.
"How'd you know about the tree?" Or course, he wouldn't know about it, both it and he were too little back in the day for it to be part of his summer, but I had found it just right a few years back on my own walks. 'Course, there could be better footing, I thought, to get to the branches that hung over the pond, but I wasn't going to tell him that. You have to lean into it quite a bit and kind of land on one, but it's all shimmy after that and not a bad landing if you don't mind a bit of a swing getting down. Back in the day, I'd would have done that upside down and I got to wondering if my Lo'Bug has figured that out yet. She will, give her a few more summer days.
I left him to commiserate with Papa about how I was absolutely going to ruin his fine princess. Later, tucking in Chloe and Teddy in my big ole bed, I asked, "What did you think of my tree, Sugar?"
"Lama.....it's the best tree ever! I was just telling Teddy all about it and I think I'm going to take him there tomorrow. Isn't that right, Teddy?" As always, Teddy smiled in complacent agreement and pure willingness for his next adventure. "Good," I replied, "I'll make you both a picnic to carry along. You know how hungry Teddy gets being out in the sun."
Tomorrow, however, brought us the beginnings of a new adventure and a break in our summer days. The outer bands of a mess of a storm that had been brewing in the Gulf of Mexico had finally made their way to our place and rain began in earnest. It was not much more of a *sigh* for me, at first anyway. The blessings in the 20 year drought ending after three back to back storms were certainly there but also included now was a growing weariness of trying to keep squirrely kids entertained day after rainy day. Boredom is not the best state for kids who already have a load of problems on their plate. But, by and by we were making it with reading adventures and popcorn and sappy old movies.
Still, the rains came. By Tuesday they were predicting a near record crest on the creek and the atmosphere around us and in us changed and charged with drama. You could smell it....does that make sense? Tense, wet tense .... if that's a good description of what waiting is like. It has been a very long time since we've had this much water. Then Rae, my dear Rae, comes pouring in through the garage because no one uses the front door here, a towel around her head for cover like some redneck babuska, and says, "Good Lord, what happened to your pond?"
The pond! It had broken through the bulkhead during high tide and we watched it creep closer and closer to the house only to breathe a sigh of relief when it stopped and the pull from the creek began drawing it back out again as the tide withdrew. Unfortunately, in 12 hours we were going to see another high tide, a creek 3' higher, and 8-12" more inches of rain. We would not be able to withstand that.
In a frenzy we threw a flood party because here in the south, disaster is best met with a lit grill, good food, and lots of hands. The guys went up the road and loaded the pickups with cinderblocks and the gals stayed with me and began packing up whatever was low. Later, when the guys returned, up went all my furniture onto the blocks. What a surreal sight that was. It was all ready in a couple of hours so we had time to get down to the serious business of prayer - and there were helping hands for that, not only here at the house, but over the country and right here in OD. We prayed for our kids and friends who were right on the creek and others who were in very low lying areas....for our workers who would be out in this, and for each other. But first, we praised for God's work in our neighborhood and our community and for the knowledge, and the peace, that it is just stuff. There ain't a thing here I'm taking with me except people and I was so grateful to know that.
In the middle of the night Chloe stirs a bit and sleep mumbles, "Lama, hold my hand." She does that at night, one arm grasped around Teddy and the other one next to me....holding her hand. She wasn't deep asleep - who was? - and she mumbled a bit more here and there until I finally realized what she was saying. "Lama, it's windy." Windy......Yes.....I could hear the wind. I couldn't hear the rain anymore! That deluge that had been falling in buckets for days now was gone and it's in place was wind. A big breath of wind. A very BIG breath of wind. Blew the storm right out to sea and there was no more rain. The creek had her crest but the water came no further....it was over.
It took quite a bit longer to put everything back in order than it did to chaotically put it up, but I didn't mind - our clean-up was minimal. It will take longer to get the roads repaired so we can get to our friends and help them clean up, but they're working on it. The kids made it and have some epic pictures to show their grandchildren one day and we have stories to be told around lit grills and fire pits for years to come. But first things first....once the dust up is done, we have to get down to some serious business.
"Hey, Lo'Bug, put your hair up and get your tennies on!"
It's time to take Teddy to the tree and lean down on a long branch that hangs over the pond where we can hang upside down if we want to and look at our reflections looking back up at us. I got a hair tie that will keep Teddy steady and a snack basket for when we get hungry and a Book of Psalms that we will read as we praise our Lord for good neighbors before the storm, deep prayers through the storm, and sunshine after the storm. We're blessed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. How about you, Teddy?