Where are the trees? What happened to the erosion paper?
Where are the trees? What happened to the erosion paper?

We’ve all been there. Life gets in the way of everything else. Everything.

We bloggers are not alone in this. Author P. D. James once said that it took years to write
Cover Her Face, not the usual span of months. “The work was hindered by family emergencies, by pressure of my job and by the need to spend some evenings at the City of London College…” – as quoted from her autobiography Time To Be In Earnest.

Lately I’ve had many hindrances. And I’ve written many blog posts – mostly in my head and mostly at night when I can disengage from the world for the nanosecond before falling asleep. One was titled, Life on the River.

It began like this:

I awoke to the sound of the rushing water of the river as it thrashed through the trees and out of its banks. Then I realized, I don’t live on the river. I ran to the front porch. It was still dark, the sun hadn’t risen and even if it had, the torrential rain fell in such giant curtains as to keep its light from the earth. The noise of the water upending trees as it smashed into the forest left me with gut wrenching certainty that our driveway which crossed the small creek with a normal three to six inches of water flowing along its rocky bottom had suddenly become a rushing river. Dread overtook me. I sipped coffee, alone and quiet, waiting for the rain to lessen and the sun to illuminate the driveway enough to see. Would I be able to get to work? Would my son be able to get to the farm? Were our animals ok? Did the heartbreakingly expensive repair on our driveway’s bank withstand the flooding?

We’ve lived here with no problems for eighteen years – until this year – until my husband’s surgery – until the fourth straight week of daily rain with only one exception since the first of June. And I’m not talking about normal rain. We’ve been in a period of drought for a couple of years. Now, not only have we recovered from the drought level, but have surpassed it by over a foot. This rain has lifted concrete tops off of wells and springs and carried them away, collapsed banks that have never given to even the hardest downpours, cut driveways apart from their foundations leaving people stranded into or away from their homes. You see folks, we live in the mountains. It doesn’t flood here. Never. But dump several feet of water into a creek that carries several inches at its peak, and anything can happen. And of course, it happens when my husband can’t do much of anything or risk rupturing one of his eight incisions.

Driveway wash out
Driveway wash out

That’s right. We were prepared for far fewer. And things haven’t been quite as smooth there either. Right now he is battling infection and a stitch that is likely going to need to be removed. It is kinking something and causing pain. The infection could be a symptom of rejection of the mesh. If that is the case, it will have to be removed and the period of recovery will begin again and my husband may lose his mind.

And the horses got out of the pasture – not once but twice. They’ve all been telling me I shouldn’t give them treats from my hands. Well, guess what? When I rattle the bag, the boss of the herd comes running and the others follow. So, that is what I did and eight horses followed me seamlessly back into the pasture. I certainly couldn’t wrestle them or lasso them, or whatever it is that other people do when their horses escape. It worked. I remain the treat lady.

Of course, the minute my husband can’t lift or carry, I have a flat tire on the way to work and the rain is so heavy that it gets beneath the housing of my headlight and shorts it out, leaving me with a costly repair, not to mention having to get to and from the dealership.

I won’t even go into the farm situations. It isn’t pretty. People are having to watch their crops rot. One of our flat fields is going to have to be replanted if it ever clears up enough to get equipment into it. The others are on sloping hills that end at ponds, piped into other larger ponds that carry the water away. The corn there is doing alright.

Another post I mentally wrote was titled, Why Can’t we Do it the Right Way?

I’ll apologize in advance to my male readership. We females are guilty in much the same way about things you try to help with. But turn a woman loose with a lawn tractor, mower, weed eater, blower, or other power tool, and the men in our lives become worse critics than the people reading our manuscripts.

There are exceptions and I cede to you. But in my world, my husband is picky about the lawn and the driveway. And just because he can’t take care of things he normally does right now, doesn’t mean he is willing to see it done the ‘wrong’ way. That translates to ‘my way’ if you know what I mean. The lawn isn’t its normal self anyway. And grabbing the one or two-hour space of no rain to try to cut it means it often isn’t dry enough really. Wheels spin. Grass clumps. But with days and days of even heavier rain in the forecast, you take your best shot when you get it.

Thankfully, (this is meant sarcastically), he is able to come outside and give me directions. He also had me drive him out to the farm which I shouldn’t have. They weren’t doing things ‘his’ way either. Not that it was being done incorrectly. It wasn’t being done in the right order.

Laugh here. Go ahead. Order is important in some areas of life and farming and all of those things were done in exactly the right order. It was just the little things that hadn’t been done in the same manner as he does them or directs them to be done.

Letting go of control is never easy. And I had to gently remind him that if he trusts them to run his farm, he must trust them to do the right things, even if they follow a different set of priorities about the way in which they get done.

I had planned a great small gardening blog in honor of E.C.’s influence. Garden with gate

Go ahead and laugh here too. Too much rain and too little sunshine has stunted everything. And all of my plant food needs to mixed with water, which is the last thing it needs – more water!

Yet, while we have suffered – and are still contending with – too much water, the folks in the Arizona and Colorado have had the opposite. One of the nineteen firefighters who died was originally from Ashe County, North Carolina, pretty close to where we live. Eric Marsh was one of the founders of the Hot Shots and had a passion for his work. He was only 43.

And one of our local judges, a man who went to school with my husband, drowned while on vacation. He jumped into a rip tide situation to save a drowning woman. She survived. He did not. He was only 54.

So, when I get up in the morning or come home from work, accustomed to grabbing my computer and blogging – either doing my posts or catching up with the ones I follow – and my husband looks at me and says, “Oh, so I guess you don’t want to talk,” I put it away. He is bored, alone for most of the day, and not used to being sedentary. People come first – right? (He’s with my son at the moment, looking over farm issues, so I have a break.)

Hopefully, this too shall pass, and all will be back to normal within a couple of weeks. Who knows what I will have written in my head by then?

Renee Johnson is the author of Acquisition, and The Haunting of William Gray.  She is currently working on a Young Adult novel, while editing a suspense novel which has international flair–an homage to her love of travel and foreign food.  She lives on a farm in North Carolina with her husband, Tony Johnson, and one very spoiled German shepherd named Gretel.