Wednesday, September 2, 2015

There's Always a Rainbow

Bumble Bees on Sunflower.

It's been a difficult year. I lost three family members, two who were just starting out in their loving marriage, and the grieving process was painful. Feeling a deep connection with nature and the cycle of life and death did help, but in this case the losses were so close together and so severe that all I could do was hold onto my grandchildren and animals and remind myself daily to breathe. Just breathe. 

I believe this is an Oriole. Photographed by D.S. Dollman near Carter Lake, Colorado. 

I loved living at the lake. My grandchildren and I spent many hours at the lake. We took my two chocolate labs to the dock and they would jump into the freezing water, swim to shore, then jump in again. I was certain they would grow tired of shivering, but they loved the water play and considering they are now 16 years old it really was amazing to watch. 

Buddy and Holly are 16 years old now and Holly is battling cancer, but they still play and love like little puppies. 

The Colorado mountains are filled with wildlife, lovely creatures that leave you breathless, and when they finally tired of leaping into the water and allowed me to wrap them in warm towels, the dogs would join us watching the birds sitting on fence posts and the fish leaping from the lake and the small herd of deer that roams among the yards and gardens and in the park. 

Deer photobomb. Photo taken by Darla Sue Dollman near Carter Lake, Colorado.

Eventually, I moved into town so I could live closer to my family. It is a small house, but a cozy fit for cuddling with the grandchildren, four dogs, five rabbits and my cat. 

Chewy the Chihuahua tries to take a selfie while cuddling with me on the couch. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman taken in Loveland, Colorado.

However, I still carried that dream in my heart, the dream of paying it forward to the community to all those people who helped me when I was a single mother by raising goats for goats' milk and chickens for fresh eggs and growing vegetables and herbs to donate to needy families. The yard is small so I decided to work with raised gardens and experiment with vertical gardening. Within a week of moving into the house I planted the seedlings I started up in the mountains, then someone poured an egg and cheese mixture on my plants and the children's playhouse and I had to throw everything away and sterilize the wood. It was yet another blow in a long, painful year. However, as the saying goes, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I filled the gardens with rabbit droppings and planted sunflowers, which are now 12 or more feet high. I have never in my life seen sunflowers so high and they tower over the six foot fence staring across the neighborhood like guards for my garden. 

Sunflowers tower over my house in Loveland.

In my heart, there is always hope. Sometimes life is so hard that I have to search and search to find that speck of hope, but it is always there. I began to think I would never be able to fulfill my dream of starting a garden and raising animals to help needy families. I tried fund-raising options and they were useless--I was told people prefer to donate to money-making businesses, not charities. Times have changed, but I haven't. I kept praying, seeking an answer for my dream...and it has come. I now have a small farm in a nearby town and will move within the week. It has fruit trees and raised gardens and is fenced and cross fenced for animals. It has a brick barn with electricity and a space where I can build an American Ninja workout gym for the grandchildren. Once again I received help from an unexpected source, and I will show my gratitude by growing food and raising animals and helping others. There is always a rainbow after the rain. 

Rainbow near Carter Lake, Colorado. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.

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