We don’t like friends and family going without us to the site where our house burned. Some of our friends are not yet able to go look at the site of the house. We think that is fine.
It took us some time to learn how shocking it was. After the initial stultifying unreality we felt viewing our former house, we began to get used to it. We see it as it changes. The winds have blown most of the ash away. Plants and trees are growing. Crushed and burned cars are no longer there. The wreckage of homes and barns that literally exploded from heat is gone. Foundations are transforming from crumbling, fire-riddled rubble to new, strong foundations where houses will be. It looks as busy and gay as the fair to us.
To people who have not spent time watching the changes occur it still looks like a war zone. The devastation overshadows the emergence of green growth. Awe takes on a different meaning—awe at the power of fire.
We had another family member visit. We feel blessed to have so many visitors come. Having friends and family who stay with us in our temporary house and sleep on our new sheets and eat off of our new plates and cook with our new pans help take the new off of them so that they are more and more the things that we have and less and less something that just came, new, out of an Amazon box. That helps settle our spirits and keeps us on an even keel. Sometimes when I open yet another box full of replacements for things we don’t have any more, I can become overwhelmed. On a fundamental level, the amount of ordering, shipping, unpacking, recycling, and sometimes returning things can be insurmountable.
Taking those new things and placing them where they belong is just a job. It is one more thing that we must do to rebuild. Having those things be used, well, that is quite another matter. We enjoy the arrival of what we think of as the “kin” of our old items but that is nothing compared to the magnificent blessing it is to have those things take on the patina of others using them. It links us to the world. It takes our bonds outside of the fire and connects us firmly with a world where fire has not transformed it.
We think that might be why it is so hard for people to see where our house was. Coming from a world that has not been transformed by fire makes seeing one that has shocking. It is a cultural boundary. Crossing from a non-fire transformed world into one that is leaves the traveler speechless and flooded with emotion.
That is why we don’t like people to go to the house without us. We are cultural interpreters. We can speak the language of both lands. Eventually the land will heal and we will live in a world that does not look fire-transformed and the cultural differences will be less pronounced. Even though, the transformation will not change. We will always have lived in a fire-transformed world and will always be transformed.