The sun shines brightly this morning. The air is cool yet warm. Inviting.
I awaken, step out onto the back deck, Beaumont the Wonderful padding softly behind me. He sniffs the air, steps off the deck and trundled across the lawn to his place behind the apple tree where he likes to relieve himself.
It is a beautiful morning.
Last night, after a delightful jaunt to the park, Beau and I sat on the back deck. I read, he raced around squeezing the squeaky toy he stole from Zali when she came to stay for a few days. He loves that toy and the noise it makes. He holds it in his mouth, gently squeezing as he runs wildly around the yard, down the narrow corridor between the end of the deck and the garage, out to the yard again, racing to touch all four corners, onto the deck, back onto the grass, again and again and again until exhausted, he gulps a big slurp of water and crashes on the evening cool lawn.
And through it all I read and watched him and smiled and laughed at his antics. At one point, he decided he was still a lap dog and hoisted all 65 pounds of him up onto my lap. He lay his head beneath my chin, tucked his back legs onto my lap and cuddled and cuddled.
Marley the Great Cat jumped down from the fence rail where he likes to sit amidst the bushes to be out of the way of Beaumont. He leapt up into the deck chair beside me and curled up and fell asleep. Beaumont looked at him and smiled sheepishly as if to say, “Ha! I’ve got her lap. Tough kitty!”
Three years ago today, I could not have sat out on the deck. Rain was falling on our city, swelling both rivers to overflowing. The entire downtown was flooded and 100,000 people evacuated.
It was a time of stress. Of grief. Of sadness. Of dismay.
It was a time of community coming together. Working side by side to preserve what they could, protect what had not yet flooded and clean-up what was underwater once the rivers had crested.
It was a time of uncertainty for those who had been forced to flee the rising waters and left their homes to face the river alone.
My daughter and her roommate were staying with us. Evacuees. They thought they’d only be gone a couple of days. It was 5 weeks before they could move back into their apartment.
For many people, there was no moving back home. Their homes and so much of what they owned, was destroyed by the floods.
One friend stood in his house and surveyed the damage all around him and felt relief and guilt wash over him. The entire quadrant of the city where he lived was flooded. Except for his house and his neighbour’s. Two homes out of 200 saved from the raging river by some fluke of street design and miracle.
The waters rose to within 3 feet of the backdoor of a young friend’s wine shop and stopped. They were without power for a week, but the dream he and his partner had spent five years building was saved.
The damage today is not as visible as it was on this day 3 years ago. There are scars but mostly, the city has recovered.
I was reminded of this day three years ago when Facebook served up a memory for me to read. The waters have receded, much of what was lost has been rebuilt. Today, we all have our flood stories to tell. Our moments of horror. Our moments of fear, uncertainty, wonder and awe.
We all have our stories to tell and the greatest one of all is how, no matter how fast or high the waters rose, people rose higher. We came together and worked side by side and amidst the devastation, humanity shone brightly.