With fires looming in the distance, their smoke filling the air around us, our hearts tend toward despair. There have been a few dangerously near our own home; only by the grace of God were they controlled and extinguished before damages occurred.
In times like these I need a mental 'time out'; a step back to take a look at the big picture: what really matters here? The farm-kids and I did just that. Gathering our little herd, we set out to the unfenced pasture area for some grazing and dazing; a time to focus and reflect.
Sitting there in the cool shade of a tree cluster, the goats roamed here and there around us seeking a little nibble from dry forage...one teen wandered about- just being, pondering. Another teen pulled a camera out, milling around the flock she found inspiration in the ordinary as the brush beneath her feet cracked and crunched.
Birds called to one another from the crisp tree tops overhead as Doc brayed for attention in his paddock. The dogs watched lazily from their shady spot- where the deep hole in the soil sits near their water bucket. Now and again the peace was broken by the sirens in the distance; a reminder of what is at stake.
Prayers are lifted from our hearts for those displaced, those in need, those lending aide, those on the line fighting the blaze. My mind makes mental inventory; priorities are organized and debated as silently I keep watch over my little ones who are seemingly unaware of what lies nearby.
There are things I would prefer to save if possible: curriculum, computers, quilts. Nothing so precious as my family--nothing I would risk one of them for. We talk amongst ourselves of possibilities; what we might have to face, to choose, if it comes down to it. Insights are precious- their hearts shared with me as we sit there in the shadow of smoky horizons.
Now is a time to find gratitude for all we are blessed with and all we have currently been spared from; a time to rejoice in our treasures and soak up our time here- together. The precious moments of just being here despite the drought and dust, despite the smoke and fears...being together; being spared.
In this moment we make decisions to give to those in need: water for the firemen; clothes for those who lost theirs; pantry items for the food banks...above all prayer. My heart is touched by the compassion of my teenager's hearts toward those they have never met- what a blessing.
Conversation turns to those whom we know closer to the danger than we are- each takes a plan of outreach; a plan to be a listener..to reach out and keep in touch during their darkest moments..to be a friend and listed and lend. One moves back to the house; homework is calling...yes, there is much to do.
The time has come to gather them back to the fenced area where cool water and shade will give them rest. One by one my family goes to this and that- responsibilities are calling. Walking the gravel path back to the house a prayer of thanksgiving rises up...so grateful for a little time to gain perspective as we and the goats graze and daze.