Well, I've had an unexpected and exhausting weekend.
One that has wrought some rather large changes for my life, my business, and consequentially, the blog.
You see, it finally happened.
I've closed down the Wall Tent Studio.
To cut to the chase, I was defeated by the horrendous winter weather at last. I'm still in some shock that it all happened so fast, but through it all, God was and is so very good to me.
Last week we got several inches of fresh snow, followed by a torrent of rain as the temperature suddenly rose. My wood was saturated, and the logging tarp shielding my tent from the elements started to give way. It was old and threadbare in places, but doubled over, I thought - hoped - it would be okay. Friday night came with real concern on my part at the amount of water coming in, but I could really do nothing at that point. The rain must stop sometime, and if things stayed as they were, all would be well.
I took these pictures that night, little glimpses of that dark, dripping, but peaceful evening. My sister's bouquet of red origami roses. The wood laid out to dry and my business planning and the walls and ceiling of my poor drenched home.
Little did I know it would be my last night in the Wall Tent Studio.
(Yes, being a little melodramatic here. It helps:)
I woke the next morning to find that things had not stayed as they were. The tarp had completely failed at last, and the floor was in an alarming state. A soaked and alarming state. The walls, the porch, front and back, everything was flooded. And with the warm front the weather was bringing, my main concern became mold.
Our car battery had died, so we rode to the post office with a neighbor in the morning (afterwards was able to find the battery charger, thank God!), and a box was waiting for me that was absolutely heaven-sent.
My dear friend Winnie had sent me some of her fresh backyard Florida oranges, homemade marmalade, and French hot chocolate, and I sat down to toasted english muffins with fresh marmalade and Chocolate Francais.
All around me, young lakes swam and dripped in my house and dampness reigned.
There was no help for it. After breakfast, it was time.
My wonderful brother came down from town (where he now lives and works) with a strong new tarp and good rope, and we disassembled the traitorous old tent fly and set up the new one. It turned out to be much bigger than before - so although it's not as pleasing to the eye, the danger of the elements getting through again is almost zero. Lord willing.
Then I packed up all my belongings and cleared the floor. The amazing providence is that my brother's restored 1945 Beck Bus, just 20 feet away, was empty and waiting, and that's where I went. I am so thankful that there was a place prepared for me. I'm sitting here now, in this bus, my furniture and things arranged and myself warm and safe.
I've started a new chapter. It's not what I would have chosen. I couldn't bear the thought of abandoning the sanctuary my tent has come to be to me, even with all of it's trials. But God is always going on before, preparing the way and giving us an extra nudge when we're not ready to step through the door. I am warm. It's airtight in here, with an electric heater and windows. Glass windows! You don't know how huge that is till you've become used to not having them.
I don't have to worry about fires and floods and staying alive now.
And I think God is going to use this in my life to let me accomplish things that were not possible while I was struggling with daily living on such an intense level.
Once everything was out, I pulled up the soaked carpet and took it to the dump - mold is nothing to mess around with. To do that, I had to disassemble the stove and take it out, then brought it back in and set it up once more. I built a roaring fire, then got out my scrub brush and mold spray and got to work.
Thank goodness for my wonderful, helpful sisters. I love you all so much.
A few hours later, every inch of canvas was scrubbed clean and dry, the floor was well on it's way to drying out, and things were looking up. I pulled up my rocking chair on the bare plywood floor and we watched Christmas in Connecticut, monitoring the fire to keep it blazing hot.
And took melodramatic self portraits in the stark lighting from the single lamp set on the bare floor.
I have to laugh - now - at how this all happened. The cold didn't get me. The snow didn't get me. The fierce winter weather didn't defeat me - all it took was a little warm weather and a leaky old tarp.
No matter how stubborn we are, no matter how tough, God can always find a way to get through.
The Wall Tent Studio's there yet - empty, still and cold. Biding it's time till Spring comes again and the next phase of our adventures together come to be.
Because I know we're not through yet.
Not by a long shot.