Bonus Time / Rising from the Ashes

The whole town is coughing. In yoga the other day the teacher said, “It sounds like a sanitarium in here.” My bronchitis, which seemed to recede in New York for a day or two, has returned with a vengeance. The pharmacy has cases of cough medicine on display at the checkout. And even though we’ve cleaned up a lot, there is ash everywhere, on the sidewalks, the trees, the beaches, our triple-hosed down walkways, the roofs of our house and our neighbors’ houses, floating down like cancer-causing, asthma-inducing fairy dust while we go through the motions of returning to business-as-usual, while everyone’s coughing every few seconds.

I am very tired. Part of me would like to throw out everything, sell the house, and move. But where would we go? There are hazards everywhere, risk of natural or man-made disasters everywhere. Pollution and global warming are everywhere.

There is no utopia, and this is our home. Our house is here. Our friends are here. Ax’s school is here. Our life is here, and it’s a good one, even when there’s ash and we are sick and we are tired.

I will call one of the clean up crews today for our duct system and hopefully insurance will pay for it. I’ve heard it can take up to a year, or never, to be reimbursed for that kind of thing. But today is a rainy day. The rain just happens to be ash.

And out of the ashes what comes for my family and me? Gratitude. Gratitude that we are safe and protected and loved, that we have each other, that we are not alone. Gratitude that we have shown patience, tolerance, kindness, and love as best we could throughout all of this, to ourselves and to each other. Gratitude that we love our home, love our community, and love our lives.

We will continue. We will continue to clean up the ash, continue to breathe, with or without coughing, and continue to live this beautiful life as if every day were a gift. Nothing is guaranteed. It is all bonus time. I’m gonna keep going.