I have never experienced a national disaster personally – until the September 11th flood in Lyons, CO. It changed my town; it changed my life. The news coverage lasted several days or weeks. However, the recovery process lasts months and years. I did not realize the amount of work involved for a town to re-create itself. The meetings are seemingly endless. The conversations are very long. The dedication of town officials, Board members and average residents is a live rendition of active citizenship. Everyone is a volunteer giving their time and energy during this process. It reflects a spirit of love for town, home and community that is a remarkable journey.
In addition to being somewhat overwhelmed with all of the recovery work, the visual of the devastation is very sad and difficult to view each day. Ultimately, my photography is helping me and supporting me with my perspective. I have made a commitment see beauty each day – even if it is in a pile of debris or rubble. My mantra has become the philosophy that I have always believed in: “What am I choosing to focus on?” I must focus on the beautiful and see the beautiful as we make slow and steady progress. I must remember each day, with respect, all of the volunteers working and dedicating their endless time toward progress.
On some level are hearts are broken. On another level, our hearts are strong and resilient. So, I dedicate this blog post to anyone who has experienced a national disaster or extreme trauma – especially the volunteers helping the town of Lyons. I honor your perseverance.