The rains have stopped. The sun is radiant and firmly positioned against a sparkling blue backdrop. Creeks are finally subsiding. Everywhere, water is being absorbed by the sun or swallowed into the earth.
I would be remiss if I did not share that…“the world around here looks and feels different.”
It was only ten intense days ago when it all began. The media and online photos painfully captured the event. My senses, though, would not allow me to register or absorb what had actually taken place all around me. I yearned to be out in the elements – exploring first hand – and witnessing what the powerful force of water had imposed upon this town I call home.
Unlike the images presented by the media, my initial real-life observations would not allow me to vocalize or fully deploy the word “devastated.” What instantly became apparent was that the landscape of the past had been dramatically altered – forever. Witnessing those changes bubbled up strong emotional responses within me. My tears came to appreciate the pounding sound of water which allowed them to journey in muffled silence along the tracks of my face.
I continued to wander along water-encroached streets, around and over swollen creeks, along mud/silt-covered bike paths (if accessible at all), and onto dampened bridges. Clearly, my imbedded memories from the past did not align with the chaotically orchestrated sights and sounds that played out during my travels. Rapidly rushing waters – normally running at 54 cf per second now ran at about 2,000 cf per second slowed from their peak of 5,000 cf per second – surrounded me and made themselves know. Their lionesque roar invoked their power. That they were in charge was quickly obvious.
At each interval of my walk – the library parking lot, the bike paths, the bridges – the sights and sounds demanded pause for examination and reflection. I wondered about the exact location where each person (8 in total) had come to their death during the flood? I also pondered if the final count of folks who had lost their home and/or been displaced had reached 1300? In many ways, the actual town of Boulder – with many buildings along the Creek – had somehow been spared. I was also curious to learn what the reason for that might be – especially since the town of Boulder received the greatest amount of rainfall – 16+ inches according to the National Weather Service?
While my personal damage (mostly emotional) paled in comparison to others, I, nonetheless, began to wonder where all my favorite (and much beloved) nooks, crannies, and little quiet tree-infested hide-aways along my once gently moving Creek were? My friend tapped me on the shoulder and pointed – “They WERE there.” Now in their place stood water – LOTS of it! Those old, wise fatherly trees had been uprooted and catapulted downstream. Many continued to brace themselves – as water tugged at their partially submerged and water-soaked torsos.
This event has caused me to look at rain in a very different way. As someone born under the astrological sign of The Water Bearer – Aquarius – I have consistently felt an affinity with water. I honored, respected, and embraced its nature – strong-willed and forceful. It is a powerful force – one that does not await permission and can quickly bring its power to bear – dictating and imposing change. This event, however, has heightened my reverence for rain/water to an entirely new level. Rain/water possesses a personal power that allows it to jostle and disturb one’s peace, serenity – even security. My little place of escape and solace – creek side – is now gone (or at least dramatically disturbed and buried 10 feet under water). Nature’s sweet, comforting hideaway – under that giant fatherly oak – is gone. As I peer out across the horizon, words like demolished, decimated, devastated painfully fill my head and heart. Those rain waters and that flooding beckoned me to stop – and demand that I recognize, honor and respect its powerful ability to impose change…and to acknowledge my false illusion of comfort – even my complacency.
No one can deny that the recent rains and flood waters carved new and different pathways in our landscape – and even in our lives. Many of us find ourselves displaced or disoriented – few things seem to be in their place – where they once were. Giant parent-like trees struggle to maintain their grasp in knot-deep water – unable and unwilling to release their hold. Others were uprooted and carried to their death miles down stream – in temporary grave sites under bridges or barricading storms drains.
While pondering what might help bring me to resole (and possible others) that change has been forced upon us…and, oftentimes, is inevitable, I recall these quotes which seemed appropriate and relevant (and hopefully helpful)…
“Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.” By Sai Baba
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” By Charles Darwin
“My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.” By Abdul Kalam
“Walk on a path that leads to higher understanding.” By Unknown
As we attempt to re-surface from this event and embark on a fresh, new week – maybe even to carve ourselves a new life or approach – let’s allow the events of the past and the power observed in water to help us forge new roads and new ways of approaching the way we live.
© 2013 EM Carlock
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