It has been a stranger Christmas season than most. My sister-in-law moved into our cottage in September, and it's the first time we've had anyone living there longer than a week. Since our last long-term resident moved away in 2016, we've had lots of work done: an on-demand hot water system that supplies both houses, a new AC/heat system for the cottage, new landscaping that affects the back parking area, just to name a few.
I've been holding my breath, waiting to see what might go wrong with a full-time resident adding stress to the systems (water, electric, AC, etc), many of which are quite old. And I had just started to enjoy the realization that everything seemed secure.
We went off on our week-long vacation, only to get a panicked phone call at 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning: serious flooding in the cottage. The good news: we had left our keys with my sister-in-law, so she had a dry place to wait until morning.
Yesterday morning, she sent this picture:
Yes, that's our front yard under all that water. The blue car in the background is the one we left parked on the street. This time, the water made it to the porch, but didn't flood the house.
We have never seen that kind of water outside of Hurricane Irma. We had no hurricane, no tropical system. But we had enough rain in a "normal" weather pattern that this kind of flooding happened, which affected not only houses and roads, but the airport, which was closed for part of yesterday.
Insert a heavy sigh here.
We spent time yesterday trying to figure out what our response should be. Should we go rushing back across the state?
In the end, we decided it made sense to stay where we are, vacationing with my side of our family. We have a bed here in Marco Island, and by staying here, my sister-in-law can stay in our house while the cottage dries out. The water has receded, but the drying out will take some time.
Last night I collapsed into bed early and slept soundly. This morning, from the balcony, I could see stars over the ocean, a sight I rarely see on my side of the peninsula. Even though the southeast coast of Florida tries to darken itself during sea turtle nesting season, it's minimally effective.
I stood on the balcony and took in the heavens. I thought about the fact that it's Christmas Eve. I thought about all the glories proclaimed from the heavens that some of us will celebrate tonight (and hopefully, we celebrate year round).
And then I came inside and unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it.
From the profound mysteries to the essential tasks of a life incarnate--that line we walk, the balance we try to maintain, that idea seems to be an essential one of the year-end holidays. I wish us all peace, no matter how we're celebrating.
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