The Rona came around for a secondary ass-kicking last week, so I have been lying low. Today, the sifters are coming so I have emerged to join the world for a day, with the intent of heading up to the Retreat tonight before the heavy snow we’re expecting. I’m in my favorite coffee shop, waiting to meet A, with a bonus of getting to see her dogs, who accompany her everywhere these days.

At the bank, when the teller asked me about my fun plans for the day, I told him I was sifting through the ashes of my home. The man at the next window said, “You’re incredibly strong to be going through this.” That made me cry. No was has said that to me face to face, and I had no idea that I needed to hear it, but clearly, I did.

I’ve really been limiting my interactions, partly because of the Rona, partly from grief, and partly because it’s hard to talk with anyone who isn’t where I am emotionally right now. So that has left me happily with K, A, MKL, and ex-Pat. But being out in the world today is hard. Here in the coffee shop, all the overheard conversations are about the fire. The front page of the local newspaper is about concerts to benefit fire victims. I know people are still processing their experience of it. It touched everyone in these three small towns in some way. It’s only been 33 days.

I think I’m glad that people haven’t forgotten. As part of the 991, it’s hard to hear other people discuss it when they didn’t have the severe loss. I can’t begrudge them their need or way of processing their trauma.

Right now, I’m waiting for the sifters. I’m sitting among the ruins on a half wall that was next to my beautiful greenhouse. Ex-Pat built it for me with his own hands. I have pictures of K sitting in one of the post holes he dug for it. Or I had pictures of K. I suspect they burned up, along with everything else, in 20 seconds.

I’m mostly good. But I’m so very tired. And it feels like this lifetime will never offer me any rest.