Friday, September 20, 2013

Five days after the Boulder storm

September 17. 2013

It is thundering, the sky is gray, raindrops have experimented on my back steps.  An ordinary occurrence, you say.  Well, that might be unless you were here last week when all the giant sky hoses had their taps on until the spigots were turned off after twenty-three, yes, twenty-three inches dumped, lambasted, and pelted us from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon, with a deceptively dry interval on Saturday.  Like many others we had water in our finished basement.  Buckets and ditches and sandbags and more ditches and pieces of plywood couldn’t keep water from the foundation, water from the window wells, and finally our hands went up in surrender.

A tropical storm they say.  I’m thinking it was a perfect storm, like the one in the north Atlantic years ago.  Maybe I can write the book Perfect Storm Number Two and give you vignettes of the Lyons people, the Jamestown people, the Estes Park people, the eastern Colorado farmer people, the Longmont people, the Boulder people, the basement flooded people, the cars in the dirt people, the cars in the water people, and of course the guilty people (those who escaped all disaster and keep saying they feel guilty).  Or all the vignettes of neighbors digging ditches for neighbors, or carrying carpet out of basements, or bringing them soup.  Our own neighbor, Bill, walked over when things were at their worst and gave us an hour of swift, efficient labor, our son and grandson did their part, and the next day Bill appeared again to help us throw carpet out of the back of our van (onto a new geographical feature called Carpet Mesa).  Many hands made light work.

As a representative of the basement people I would like to report an amazing circumstance for many of us. No wailing.  Just a smile and a nod, the universal question, “Are you okay?”  We’re going on.  I stood in awe of the sunrise this morning.  I thought yesterday’s sun a new miracle. I admit to a few panicky moments, but only moments. My furniture moving muscles are getting stronger by the day, and I’m hearing from friends across the country, rejoicing in the sound of their caring voices or their words on email.

As I wrote the preceding paragraphs the thunder cracked a few more times, and whoops, now I hear a few more drips. Another perfect storm?