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The Not-So-Bad Farm Fire

Often times I share with close friends that I’d love to have a mundane and boring life, take care of my animals, do art and make beautiful things. No big drama. My suspicion is that this desire for “boring” springs from having lived with so much drama and turmoil for so long. It’s a lot of interior work on myself to be ok with mundane, to be honest. When you’ve lived in that sort of state for so long, your body actually starts to become used to those levels of hormones and adrenaline. It almost feels like the other shoe is about the drop when things are boring. So it’s been work to calm my mind and my body to accept that the mundane is normal and good.

My third child lives with his dad in North Carolina. With my youngest having Down syndrome and a high level of need for supervision, I knew that a trip to visit my son would need to be short and sweet. So I made plans and off I went! My three kids at home were safe with my mom, and I was determined to make everyone moment count with my son. We had a great time, and as I dropped him back to his dad’s house I got a phone call that no one is ever prepared to receive.

My children were fine, but our property was one fire and it was headed for the house. And then they hung up.



Anger at not being home to save them. But grateful for my mom and neighbors for rescuing them.

In the end, our land and home were saved by volunteer firefighters and our neighbors and community. Saying I’m grateful doesn’t encompass the gratitude that is in my heart for the time and energy and bravery of these people. I feel so blessed and lucky to be where I am.

Nothing was lost that can’t grow back even more beautiful when the wet weather comes. Our land, like those around us, is very much subject to the seasons. California is in drought, and some of the people around us have had their wells run dry. With all the things that have happened since we’ve moved here, thank God we haven’t had our well go dry. But it does make me extremely nervous to water.

It’s hard to share that I’ve come to expect certain things to happen. The unexpected is always expected as a response to me past trauma. I’m working through it. With each event that happens, I’d like to be able to say, “You handled that well, Celeste. Let the emotions work through, and be gentle with yourself.” Admittedly, I suspect that I’m a bit traumatized from this event, but in the end all is well and we are all safe and together again.

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