Where There’s Smoke, There’s Also a Whirlwind

Heat Advisory. Extreme Fire Danger. Quite literally, these are the signs of summer as displayed in flashing red lights along the interstate. I saw some of these on a recent drive, but it was other less subtle signs that caught my attention. They said to me that summer can indeed be hot and gusty. Lately, my life has been as well.

This past Sunday, I was on my way to pick up my older daughter from her week with her grandparents. I had almost made it to the prearranged pick-up point when I started seeing smoke ahead. It was thin, white, and wispy. Just enough to hint that a fire was smoldering. Sure enough, as soon as I spotted the smoke, the cars in front of me began shifting to the left lane at the direction of a state trooper.

There was no real danger. The flames were low and sparse, and there were only a few emergency personnel on the scene. It may have even been a controlled burn. Nothing to worry about. Still, it’s a good idea not to get too close in case it flares up.

Upon reaching the pick-up point, I loaded the kid and her stuff into the car, and we started the journey home. About halfway there, a sudden gust of wind slammed into the car. Glancing into the rearview mirror, I saw a swirl of dirt crossing the road where we had just passed. Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone.

This week has had its own sudden whirlwinds and smoldering fires.

To start, my daughter had hardly gotten back home before she was gone again. The day after her return, her dad picked her up for their camping trip. However, before she left, she made her presence known. She’s like that. She can swirl into a room, leaving her own unique trail of destruction, and when it’s time to survey the damage, she is nowhere to be found.

In her wake, she generally leaves me feeling a bit like that fire. My frustration level is usually that of a slow burn, and I have watch out for those flashpoints. Those who have lived with me know this all too well.

My temper has certainly flared up this week. I’m not sure exactly why, though. Yes, my life is hectic and stressful, and at any one time, there could be a hundred things going wrong all at once. Dealing with chaos is part of my job description.

Yet, it seems in the absence of one of my children, I have allowed my own smoldering fire to burn a little hotter than I normally do. I hate to think that I am one of those people who, in the absence of drama, seeks to create it. But, this week I haven’t had to put out any fires as far as the kids are concerned. And the absence of the usual whirlwind of activity has left the place feeling quite stagnant.

What is a girl to do?

Next week will be different. The usual chaos that centers around the school year starts. There will be the inevitably chaotic drop-off and pick-up routine, which is complicated by the fact that the school is currently a construction zone. The hurried return back to the house because we forgot the lunch that was packed the night before. The big school supply run. New teacher, new rules, new friends. All of that will bring excitement to the household.

It seems the fire is just getting its second wind.

In the meantime, I need a change of scenery. So I’m getting on the road again tomorrow morning. It’s my turn to visit the grandparents, both my children’s and mine. Maybe on the way, I’ll gain a change in perspective as well.


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