Last Tuesday, I walked out into the humid heat already pressing down on the world to take Rebar out for his morning walk* and stopped dead in my tracks, my mind racing to begin problem solving. The dogwood was down.
I loved that dogwood.
I didn’t have time for a tree removal project.
My car was blocked in the driveway further down (luckily not under the tree, even if it was small).
No one has time for unplanned developments. But, really, I did not have time. I had just gotten back from Iowa where I had led a five-day workshop (9:00 am – 11:45 am all five days). I was leaving the next day for the next yearly meeting’s annual sessions where Quaker House also had a significant role on Saturday. And . . . there was to be a wedding at Quaker House while I was gone–a very small wedding, but a special day, nonetheless.
My racing problem-solving brain noted branches resting on wires and, thus, the need to not touch, just yet. Did we have a chainsaw in the garage, here? No. I didn’t remember seeing one–but friendly neighbors were just passing for their walk. Rebar and I asked them if they had a chainsaw? No, but they suggested neighbors they thought would be willing to help with that. I called the utility company and texted the neighbor across the street. Once the utility company cleared the tree for safety, Neighbor Across the Street would not only bring chainsaw, but would gladly help clear the tree. And, he did.
My gratitude for his assistance was maximum even without an additional development. We hire a lady to come by and give the House a good cleaning once a month, except she had not been here in over a month because of a family crisis of her own.
So, I did my best to clean as much as I could before I absolutely had to leave on Wednesday. I also bought a tiny boquet of five colorful roses. I wanted the couple to feel welcomed and that I celebrated this event with them even though I was not there. It was all I could do, but I hoped they would see the little colorful clump as a smile from me.
Along with all of this, a family member sustained a serious injury and had surgery Tuesday morning. There was nothing I could do for them in New England except worry and grieve for the pain and trauma while never stopping for a second in the work I had to get done.
On arrival to University of North Carolina – Wilmington, I just couldn’t keep going any long and collapsed into bed earlier than I have in as long as I can remember . . . after making the bed because dorm living, you know. (I am not complaining. They were very nice apartment-style dorms.)
Back before all of this, when I had originally confirmed Quaker House could be the wedding venue, I knew I would be gone, and I knew that I would want someone I trusted to make sure unknown un-wedding-like things had not happened in or at the house in my absence. Luckily, a Friend readily agreed when I asked her. Luckily, because it gave me a tiny bit of peace of mind when I could not be there myself. Luckily, because she was a lifesaver when, indeed, there was an issue that had popped out. The next day, I got a text from the bride thanking me, telling me it was magical.
When I walked back in the door from Wilmington, I saw the most beautiful flower arrangements that the House-Checking Friend had contributed. I am sure they were loved by the wedding party, but, at that moment, I think I must have loved those flowers more than they might have. It has been a long 18+** days, and seeing those flowers gave me an immediate sense of respite.
A little help from my friends.
* If you look closely in the first photo, you can see Rebar (tied) up at the House.
** I had already had several trips before this 18-day run.