Love Team

Today at 7 a.m. I drove 99 miles up to Sonoma, to my daughter’s home to help clean up from the Russian River flood. Yesterday I was at the Writing Project Saturday Seminar almost all day, then went walking and out to dinner with a friend, so I forgot to blog.

But today, in it’s squishy muddy, overwhelming way was good. Two nurse friends and a chaplain drove up from Oakland, and a BFF friend from Maine arrived after navigating two mudslides. The morning was foggy and my daughter’s eyes were still swollen from crying.

She made us tea first, hibiscus. My first task was to begin on the side carport and sort garden and yard tools and place them against one side of the house. Things in cardboard boxes were of course soaked after almost six feet of water. We started the wheelbarrow trips out the front gate for the county trash pickup.

Every surface was covered with an inch or so of wet silt, very slippery and the most clingy substance. When the other women arrived, they brought fresh work gloves and love. We cooperated on heavy items, like each taking a corner of the chicken coop to move it out of the mud and into the newly cleaned space on the carport.

By three pm we were thinking of lunch and we had washed off the glass patio table and set up the umbrella. We dragged water logged wood chairs around and I brought down bowls of the gumbo I’d made. It felt like a party al fresco. We were all muddy and had strained at firewood, old desk drawers and wheel barrow after wheel barrow of things that simply had to be discarded. Yet, we were happy.

Finally, Alice requested we put in one more push to have one square of the back side of the yard clear, which we did in short order, except for the chair impaled in the fence. It was kind of a statement, so we left it.

One relieved daughter posing with chair impaled on the fence.

And mother brought home the trunk full of muddy laundry. She can hear her washer chugging outside the window, on double rinse. Tomorrow A.’s dad will pick up the clean clothes and take them up with the power washer and dehumidifier. Such a mess it was and so satisfying to all pitch in and bring some order back.

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