Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another close call

{Just a note: if you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome! Just to let you know, I generally go for a more positive vibe around here. The entry for today and the post just previous to this one (regarding my son) are not typical. But, since both incidents were heavily charged emotionally, I found it helpful to add them to my blog. I have always found writing to be a very therapeutic aid, and putting my thoughts down in the written word helps prevent all of those emotions and thoughts from just swirling around endlessly in my head. And, after all, this space is a dedicated spot for recording all the happenings in our life: the good, the bad, the sweet, the sour. But, my plan is (and always has been) to pool the majority of my blogging effort into the happy, joyous, feel-good stuff that fill our days.}

I need a cup of tea to steady my nerves. It is 5:02 am and I feel queasy and so unsettled that I am finding it difficult to choose my words.

We've just suffered another major scare, our second such scare in less than 12 hours. This morning's heart-stopping moment coming on the heels of last night's incident with our son. But, through the queasiness and uncertainty, I can feel God's presence. I am incredibly grateful that He has seen us through another potentially dangerous moment.

I am currently sitting in front of the picture window on the front of our home. I am watching and waiting. Watching the full moon drop slowly behind the mountain range. Watching the dark valley that stretches out before me. Waiting for the sunrise. Waiting to see if the danger has passed. My, were we ever so thankful for the light of a full moon on this early morning.

This is how it all started:

I didn't even crawl into bed until 12:30 am. Still wired and emotional after my son's ordeal. My son woke up fussing 4 times between 12:30 - 3:00 am. After the fourth waking, he asked me to hold his hand while he fell asleep. I obliged. I eventually back to sleep myself, only to wake up again at 3:45 am. This is my husband's rising time. Because of the early hour, he sleeps in a different room so his clock alarm doesn't disturb the children (my 2 little ones and I share the master bedroom). Lying there, semi-awake, I watched for the tell-tale light to go on in the living room so I would know that my husband was up for the day (he has a terrible habit of sleeping through his alarm). I must have fallen back to sleep while I waited, because the next thing I know, it's 4:12 am.

At 4:12 am I was awoken by someone banging on the exterior french doors of the master bedroom. These doors lead to the backyard. At first I thought it was a burglar. But then, I thought, a burglar wouldn't bother to bang on the door first, would he? I got out of bed and walked down the hall to see if my husband was still sleeping (as I fell asleep before I knew whether he had gotten up for work or not). His bedroom was dark and empty. Okay, I reasoned, the person banging on the glass door must be my husband.

As I walked back to the bedroom, the banging on the glass became incessant. Now that I knew it was my husband, I was feeling annoyed by all the noise because I was sure he was going to wake the children. I felt my way through the dark bedroom and pulled back the curtain on the french doors. Relieved to confirm it was, indeed, my husband. He shouted at me through the glass, "Go to the kitchen door!"

So, I made my way through the house toward the kitchen. Before I got there, he was already banging on the kitchen door and frantically jiggling the door handle. Geez, I thought, why is he being so impatient? He usually leaves the house for work by 4:15 am. And that was roughly the time right now, so I didn't understand why he was so frantic.

Before I could completely open the door, he barreled past me. I thought for sure he was being chased by something, and was half expecting to see a mountain lion following close behind my poor husband's heels. He was so worked up he could barely get the words out, "I dumped the ashes from the woodstove into the valley. I think I just started a fire! Holding a bucket in hand, he began to fill it up with water at the kitchen sink. Stunned, I froze for a moment. Then, the distinct smell of fire caught my attention and snapped me out of my daze. He ran past me with the bucket of water and shouted over his shoulder, "Fill up as many pots of water as you can!"

Searching the cupboards for the biggest pot I could find, I started praying out loud, "Please, Lord, save us once again. Please make everything alright. Please help us..." I was shaking, searching fruitlessly for something to fill with water. I found one smallish stock pot and began filling it. I leaned my head out the door and looked toward the valley. Except for the motion light on the garage and the light of the moon, it was pitch black outside. I couldn't even see Mark out there dumping water. But, oh my goodness, the fire smell was strong. In an instant, I thought about our move here, the remodeling we've done, the work we've put in to make this our dream house, and the children sleeping in the bedroom. Mostly I thought about them. They were safe right now, but I had no idea if the smell in the air was a threat to them or not.

Mark made a dozen more trips with the water (why, oh why, haven't we stockpiled jugs of water in case of an emergency like this. And why don't we have a water spigot and hose at the base of our property?). Then, when he was relatively confident it was out, he began to look in earnest for his car keys. Apparently he had them in hand when he dumped the bucket of ashes (by the way, just so you don't think he's an idiot, these ashes were from a fire that burned 2 days ago! So, not fresh hot embers or something obviously dangerous like that). When he saw the embers start igniting the twigs and pine needles in the area, he dropped his keys in a panic. That's why he had to knock on the door to wake me up -- he was locked out of the house and couldn't access any water. Thankfully, the light of the full moon fell upon the keys, laying on the slope of the forest valley, causing a glint of light to catch Mark's eye. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been able to drive to work (new car, no spare key made yet).

So, now I sit here in the dark, watching the valley, hoping and praying that I will not see an orange glow appear. Obviously, I won't be going back to sleep. That hour and a half of sleep I got will have to get me through the day. I am hearing the wind start to pick up and I desperately hope that it dies down quickly. I have visions of the wind carrying tiny embers deeper into the forest where they will smoulder into fire -- fire I won't see burning until it is too late. Every few minutes I poke my head outside and smell the air, just to be sure I don't smell any smoke.

But, my paranoia about the wind gets the better of me. Still in my pajamas (my bright pink bunny ones -- footed pj's, no less -- I am quite a sight to behold), I slip on my boots (which barely fit over the bunny ears sewn onto each pj foot) and go outside to check for smouldering ashes. However, the motion light going on behind me and the sound of twigs snapping (I'm sure the wind was the culprit) made me scurry back up to the house. So, I will have to wait for the sun to come up. The sun always seems to come up way too early when I'm asleep in my bed. But right now, since I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival, it is taking an eternity. I'm cautiously optimistic, though. I think all is well out there in the forest. For the second time in 12 hours, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

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