We've been home for three weeks now and been consumed with all things house related. We are grateful, despite some bumps in the road, to be well on our way to getting things in order. It's been unlike any experience, that's for certain. Even in joy and gratitude, an overarching sadness hangs over us as we consider all that has happened. Friends still have their houses in ruins, covered in a layer of tackifier to keep all that ash from being airborne. Add to those thousands the souls that are living in a state of anxiety ridden limbo, with houses standing but unable to return due to their location or the damage that lies inside. There is so much loss and so much destruction - and we've all had our patience and resolve tested.
But ever so slowly, progress is being made in all of our individual situations - but it's been tough for everyone - there is a collective weariness in our community. Although circumstances, even within a city block, are varied, we are in this together. No one said it would be easy but life moves on - with or without us.
As usual, it's easy for me to get consumed by a project (right now, being the house) so, although my studio is still not ready, it was time to carve out some creative time. I dug out some watercolour supplies and sat on the deck for the first time since the evacuation - and I happily focused on drawing and painting. Even though the wildfire is never far from my thoughts, it was good to be able to turn those musings into artwork.
And rattling around in my brain, for many weeks now, have been thoughts of how differently we deal with times of trouble. There are people who view the glass half full, the glass half empty, the glass overflowing and the glass completely empty, smashed to smithereens. I've witnessed a coming together but also those who choose to segregate and remove themselves from community. The latter grieves me, as I believe it is a dangerous mindset to entertain thoughts that convince you that no one could possibly understand what you are going through. We've all done it at times though, haven't we? Unfortunately, there is no rule book guiding us what to say and do through our trials and the more we can assume the best intentions in others, the better. I feel like we can easily put ourselves in another's shoes if we try but knowing exactly how anyone is feeling and what is going on in the inside - well, that's rather impossible.
We've all been through hard times. We've all struggled. We've all got mountains. Our circumstances and the way we react may be unique to us, but we can unite under the fact that we'll all go through trials and tribulations in this life. There's no value in alienating ourselves or trying to compare the size of these mountains we face - it just makes the climb more difficult. And climbing this particular mountain in my life has opened my eyes to the fact that we've all got those mountains in our lives. We are climbing every single day. Perhaps the challenge isn't in the mountains themselves, but whether or not we are willing to climb together.