When a wall of water comes barreling down the small stream behind your house and empties into a bigger river life changes. The day after Irene, I walked as far as I could in my family’s campground to survey the flood damage, it wasn’t very far. As I stood looking I realized the landscape had altered. Intermingled debris rested amongst the uprooted trees that lay on upon the mounds of rock. No more banks, no more berms. The force of water that tumbled down the mountain side that day left very little in its way.
Once I got over the shock of destruction you face the reality. A new vision lay before me. Literally and figuratively my view on how life was, how life was supposed to be and how it is now, has been changed forever. You are never going to put it totally back the way it was yesterday or fifty years ago.
My mother kept saying “I’m so glad your father isn’t here to see this. He always worried about the 100 year flood.” Camping on the Battenkill was started fifty year ago. I will always remember my father’s words of wisdom: “You can’t control Mother Nature; you just have to learn to live with her.”
Beyond the tears, I have found laughter with a little toy figure from Star Wars standing
out in our meadow with its feet stuck in the mucky silt, one arm raised up as if to stop the rising waters in its track.
Awe…..! In the discovery of an angel or no it might be a fairy shining out from the stark brown background. Broken may this figure be its wings look ready for flight. No picture she crumbled into the earth.
Amazement, at the smooth waterlogged sides of several old huge logs with knots all over. Handmade nails pounded into the carefully carved out notches tell a tale of their history. Each and every one of them gifts from the river.
There is a gift that has helped to heal my troubled soul, it is a rock from the river. When I first saw this large white rock with a blue hue I was drawn to it like a magnet. All I wanted to do was to place my hands upon the cool surface, when I did I could feel this was a healing rock. The tension drain out of me as a calm current filled me, granting me grace and strength to face the days, weeks and months of rebuilding.