Small Blessings

I haven't been feeling well. The last week has been incredibly hard, but I want to write about what heals me, because God is always so good, there are little gifts here and there.  My Superstar Husband had a concert on Saturday and Renee was wonderful and watched the kids for me so I could go.  And I sat on a leather couch in a well-lit cafe, with a cup of coffee in my hand and watched my best friend play the music that I love. When he was introducing the song that he wrote about me, he said he was married to the most beautiful girl in the room, and I felt awe fold in on me, tearstained, wrinkled soul that I am.

And the drives, lately.  The drives.  Sometimes we drive around a curve and suddenly there is a view before me that is so breathtaking that I want to hurl myself into the center of it and drop into it like a stone into a lake.  Or squeeze it, squeeze it and squeeze it. It's like the line from the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, God's World, where she says, "That gaunt crag, to crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!" When I drove to Sacramento a couple of weeks ago I took Highway 20, through Lake County, and all along the lakes and the hillsides there were these purple flowering trees, so incredibly vivid in the brown and green hills.  I rounded curve after curve calling applause! applause! to the purple flowering trees, because it is hard to clap when you are driving on curvy roads.

On Sunday we went out to the ranch of some new friends of ours, and again, I was stunned. We followed them home, and we left the highway to drive for about twenty more minutes along a small road that was only paved partway up. We climbed and climbed through the forest and then came out of the woods and we were surrounded by such a pastoral view of wildflowers and valleys and hills stretching off into the distance that we all gasped. There were happy cows grazing in fields, and funny-looking sheep among boulders and you could see for miles. We drove up farther and got acquainted with the house before going on a journey to find the waterfall. The kids and I climbed onto a hay bale in the back of the Kubota and I held them tight as one of our hosts drove us down steep inclines to get to the waterfall.  When we got there, we sat on a warm, flat rock and YaYa had a revelation ("The water falls!") and then the kids rolled in the grass and found bugs and worms.

It was such a sweet break, such a warm and comforting day.  Grass and wind revived me and I felt healed by the beauty my eyes were taking in.  When we all piled into the Kubota and climbed back up to the house, our hosts fed us hot chocolate and popcorn in the sunny dining room and we ended up staying so late that Renee made dinner and we stayed for that too, and drove home tired and happy.

There have been days like these. And there have been days of loss, loss that I don't know how to contain. Do I hold it in my heart, or do I open my hands and let it fly away? I am in the midst of a miscarriage, a baby so young I didn't know I was carrying him.  I found out that I was pregnant about two minutes before I found out that I was also possibly losing the baby, and my heart lifted and then fell, and it has been like that for days now. We are not sure what is going on with you, they say. We don't know how far along you are. We think you are miscarrying. It may be ectopic, they say. And that is life-threatening, they say. We need to watch you. We need to do another sonogram.

So they have me coming every other day (driving over an hour each way) for blood work to measure my hcg levels, to make sure they are going down okay, and meanwhile I am bleeding and I am opening my hands, letting him go. It's amazing how much sorrow I feel for a baby that I wasn't planning on having.  It's amazing how much my heart expanded in the short time that I prepared myself to have another baby. I would have said I couldn't handle one more thing right now, one more bit of sadness.  But I guess I am, I guess I am handling it. And when I drive up to the hospital, the trees and the mountains and the grass hold me. And I see these things are from my Father, just like when people feed me and sun comes through the trees and the future doesn't seem as scary, for a moment.

Sometimes when I'm walking around the Land there will be a big noise, like a pack of wolves bursting through the brush, and it terrifies me, but then I turn and I see that it's only a flock of quail.  Why do those quail need to be so scary? I think this is like the fear that overtakes me sometimes. The days ahead are only days, after all.  The people are only friends. What I think are wolves are actually quail running from me, scattering from the bush with their hearts beating madly. Neither they nor I need to be afraid.