I realized that I haven’t shared a picture of the goaties in a while. Here they are, eating breakfast and looking very fuzzy. Their pen is a giant mud puddle at the moment but they are clean and sparkling! I never knew that goats were such tidy creatures, but compared to my horses, who would have been constantly getting caked in mud this time of year, they are fastidious as house cats. How do they do it? Even I come back from the barn looking like a filthy, bedraggled urchin, and I’m only out there for 20 minutes or so. Clever goaties.
The creek flooded over the road this weekend, and all I can feel is my heart spilling over with joy. Funny how things happen.
As the first of a series of three epic rainstorms bore down on us, wind and water swishing around the Dome like waves against a wooden ship, the fella and I, snug under the covers, added the fate of the road to our list of worries.
Down in the hollow, our dirt road crosses a creek with a little culvert bridge. The culvert drain pipe is several feet across, and has generally managed winter high-water quite well. But the rain was coming down hard, unrelenting, and things were only supposed to get wetter.
Fixing the spot in the chicken run where the neighbor-dog keeps breaking in; making sure we have enough wood for the winter; figuring out the intermittent leak in the roof; rewiring the porch light; getting the bills paid… If you can’t even get down your driveway then how can you start to address all these other things?
The next morning, rain still sheeting down, the fella called from the car on his way to work. You’d better go take a look at the road, he said. The creek is about to crest. I took a shovel and headed out. The shovel got used along the way, to redirect some of the little rivers of water carving across the surface of the road back to the drainage ditch. Running water seeks the easiest route downhill, make the right way easier, and the water will comply. But by the time I got down to the creek, it was clear my shovel was no match for what was happening. The culvert wasn’t clogged up with leaves or branches, there was simply too much water rushing through it. It surged and eddied on the upstream side of the bridge, backing up against the earth on either side of the drain.
It’s always a wonder, how the seasons express themselves here in the foothills. How can it be that I stand, shovel in hand, mud sucking onto my boots, deafened by the rushing water about to overtake me, when a few short months ago the long days of sun had rendered this same land dry, dusty, and cracked, radiating heat in shiny ripples? How incredible is it to press your hand into a cushion of cool, thick green moss on a rock that in summertime would almost be too hot to touch.
And the rain kept coming, and the water rose higher. We fretted more about the road. The powerlessness to save it, the lack of money to fix it, the inevitable shifting – again – of priorities from one urgent project (splitting more firewood) to another (road repair). Does it ever stop? Or are we now, quite literally, drowning?
And then it happened. The water spilled over, the bridge was crested, the road went under. There was nothing to do but wait for it to subside. And so we did. And knowing that the storm was to pass by Sunday afternoon, the fella and I planned a long overdue outing in town. A gamble, should there be no road left to take us to civilization. But just the kind of optimistic thing you have to do after 4 days stuck inside worrying.
And guess what? The bridge survived. A little worse for wear, and in need of some maintenance, but it survived. And the fella and I went to town, and talked about Christmas, and how to make mustard, and ate a hamburger, and held hands. That night he built a fire in the stove while I folded laundry, we watched a movie and then listened to the frogs singing through the barely-open window. This morning we kissed goodbye for the day – him off to his new job and me off to my office in town.
The creek flooded over the road this weekend, and my heart is spilling over with joy. Because I could be doing this alone, but I don’t have to anymore.
Because everything’s going to be alright.