• Malialani Dullanty

Interstitial :: September

It seems appropriate to drop an interstitial blog in the midst of our current chaos.

After the death of my grandfather, the end of deck season (which is still hanging on by a thread, dear god let it end), and a myriad of other things - I am honestly not sure what I expected. But I can tell you I did not expect a phone call that my grandmother was in the hospital. My mom, aunts, and uncles have all rallied for round two of hospital visits and taken "turns" being at home in Sisters with her during and post surgery (the woman is independent AF, it is mostly for our peace of mind). And so came my turn, which I was happy to take. I had planned on coming down again to help my grandma clean and organize, as is my gift (would that it have been something a little more exciting), so coming down to spend time post surgery wasn't at all putting me out. And while my kids will whine about the pool not being open any more - they love a front yard they can play in, freedom to ride their bikes whenever, a long trail to run, hiking, reading and chatting with Nana Sue, and an old school ice cream shop that their Mom is a sucker for (I don't even eat anything there, I literally just like the vibe). So we drove the 6 1/2 hours to play and spend time and help heal.

The task was simple, but life isn't so neat. And day three of being in Sisters, we needed to take Nana Sue back to the hospital. She was admitted and we headed back to her home while my uncle stayed. The kids got ice cream, from aforementioned ice cream shop, and I purchased vegan fudge.

We had spent the morning up at McKenzie Pass. Rory was fascinated by the lava flow and all the signage that explained the details. Jinora was primarily focused on rock climbing and the fact that there was a castle. I just missed my grandfather. I have probably been to McKenzie Pass 4 or 5 times, but never without him. Always telling me about each and every natural thing, lakes he was particularly fond of hiking to in that moment, PCT hikers he had met that year... it was strange not to hear him talk about the fire that devastated the forest below this past year. Driving through the damage was sad and so beautiful all at the same time. It seemed wildly appropriate.

Coming back to the house, the kids fell asleep and I just lay outside in the grass and took everything in. I was still long enough and the nuthatches and woodpeckers began to tap tap the tree around me, the wind came rushing through the trees, the crickets and the butterflies swirling about and clicking, ants running to and fro in the grass.

I had this moment of clarity and peace about life, everything was exactly as it should be.

And then I went inside and discovered my grandma needed to head to Urgent Care, so I helped finish packing a bag for the hospital. Peace and clarity gone, back in the chaos, the middle, the interstice of the story. We are falling apart around here.

No, literally, Rory lost his first tooth the day before.

Do you remember when I said my gift is cleaning and organizing? I'm not kidding. I have a knack. And I don't know where I get it from, because it is 100% not hereditary. On any side of my family. Everyone has a "slam it and cram it" kind of vibe, but not me. And when I am stressed, this gift comes out in full force. It overwhelms me to the point where I can't handle it - I need the external to not mirror the internal madness.

Lucky for me, my grandmother had wanted someone, anyone, to help her clear out some of my grandfather's old papers and books - specifically all his forestry stuff. My grandfather worked for the forestry industry for something like 30 years and volunteered with committees and land trusts and other forestry/ecology related things after that. His library is amazing. And no one finds it more interesting than my husband. My grandfather and Mark used to talk ad nauseam about the ecological importance of lichen and the importance of understanding local seed saving and 900 other topics I understand approximately 26.7% of. But I loved listening to them talk about it and I loved when he would talk to me about it. Intelligence is only interesting if you are passionate about the things you know so much about, my grandfather had that. Going through the books and pamphlets he had, his notes and the things he wrote for the forestry service is probably one of the coolest experiences I have ever had in my life - and I've been to the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, and the Colosseum. History is amazing because it teaches us things, regardless of what shape or form it's in.

I don't know what's next.

But you knew that, it's the whole premise of these blogs.

We can make plans and set things up and have hopes or goals, but the truth is: I don't know.

I don't know what is next for my beautiful, strong, capable grandmother. I don't know how long the kids and I will camp out in Sisters OR. I don't know what will happen with our business, or when the god-forsaken deck season will truly end. I don't know how I will make more art happen, especially when I am on my toes in a different state. I don't know how my kids will respond being to being so thrown around this Summer/Fall. I don't know how we are going to move forward with the rest of our dreams that we have been working so hard for. I don't know anything.

The only thing I do know?

Is that this life is so god damn lovely.

And I will try my best to remember that every single moment.



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