It is a week that will be remembered in our corner of creation. More accurately it is the week after the week that will be remembered. This week will likely be forgotten in the long sweep of time as the fear and loss and ache are shoveled out of basements and into city garbage bins and towns in Southern Alberta throw away bits and pieces of a pre-flood life.
A spring full of grey skies and wet days led to a saturated world and snowy peaks to the west all came roaring down valleys with one foul swoop chased by 36 hours of rain. Houses, cars, bridges, roads, and lives washed away in a boiling brown froth.
Thursday brought rumours of high water and flooding to the West and Friday the rumour roared to life for those further down the line. We watched our docile stream become a force unstoppable as it destroyed the bridge (still temporary from last year’s flood) washing away giant concrete blocks as though they were the plastic lego toys they so resemble. Our river jumped sideways 5 meters in places, coming to rest with a deceptive innocence as though trying too hard to convince you that no no, this is where it always has been.
The water is down in our little river and despite a world that squelches wherever you step, we are, in the nomenclature of our time, “dry.”
No damage to speak of. No losses to claim.
Not so for so many others. I have been watching in voyeuristic shock as the footage of flooded houses/cars/arenas/bridges wanders across my little screen. I watch one interview after another with the displaced, their eyes rimmed with fatigue and fear driven by the unknown.
And then 2,000 people show up to volunteer and they don’t know where to put them all and neighbors arrive to help haul wet furniture out of basements and Mayor Nenshi may just be the most likable guy on the planet and I saw my first Calgary flood jokes today and where there is humour there is hope.
We are hoping to take a day of our staff training next week and go help. We are hoping to shovel our share of muck and haul some furniture but the good news is that nobody seems to need us.
The story certainly does not end here. Life moves forward as it insists on doing and basements are mucked out and things are replaced. The good people in High River continue to wait for permission to see what remains after intense flooding in their community and many lives remain frustratingly suspended. Good people are working hard to fix this and will keep working long into the night of this catastrophe because this ain’t no short term project.
In all of this we prepare for summer. We process camper registrations and set up program areas and train staff. I am thinking of the many impacted including the camps: Gardener, Kiwanis, Horizon, and many others. Our campers arrive on Friday and my glib answer to the ever-present questions “Are you ready?” has always been “We are never as ready as we want to be, but they come anyway.” seems to fit even more than the average year.
And so from Camp Valaqua we pray for a summer of safety for you. A summer of sunshine. A summer of laughter and growth and once in a lifetime experiences repeated weekly and if you find time, we invite you to join us in our little slice of creation to Experience God in Creation.