Rain is a bitch. We desperately need it until it doesn’t stop falling. Last year at this time, Hurricane Sandy hurtled through my former city, and its effects swept friends’ homes into the sea, destroyed local businesses, brought hundreds of trees to an untimely demise; yet, somehow the storm brought New Yorkers together, yet again, in a bond of community care, preservation, and recovery. During Sandy, my geographical location kept me safe. In the past week, I’ve listened to rain falling outside my windows each night, driven through it and hoped to avoid flooded roadways, and watched newscasts unfold as river ways crested and sent people’s homes into ruin across the Front Range. I’ve kept the news on waiting for updates about voluntary and enforced evacuations of my area. I’ve remained on higher ground. My house happens to be just far away enough from the two rivers that converge, and by just far away enough, I mean two little miles. Two miles away, there is utter ruin. Once again, my geographical location has kept me safe from calamity.
Despite my being “lucky” during both of these natural events, I do not ignore the heaviness that comes from witnessing other peoples’ loss. I don’t believe that a series of choices has kept me safe from these two devastating storms. Nor do I really know what I want to say about it–nothing profoundly metaphorical drives this particular post. But, my heart feels full, and I need to write something. I know that I will return to my classes this week and some of my students won’t be in the room because they are working to clean up their family’s flooded property. Others will be on teams of clean-up volunteers who will spread out across Colorado as soon as the water begins to recede. I’m hard-pressed to worry about readings not getting done or distracted students.
Isn’t it ironic that the Sustainable Living Festival in Fort Collins was cancelled because of the floods. The festival, a celebration of humanity finding a way to live on our planet conscientiously and more delicately, is now at risk of being underfunded for next year. What an educational loss that would be. (To learn more about the festival, click here.) Ultimately, we must all put our faith in each other to use individual talents to be mindful about what has passed and inventive about how to prepare for the future because surely, this won’t be the last time. Weather patterns are trying to teach us about our planet and its imbalances, its wounds, stresses, and strains, and we should listen more carefully.