Most people who know me are aware that my small town of Lyons, CO, was devastated by the flood of September, 2013. However, the flood affected so many parts of our state. The featured photograph above is a now-historic photograph of the “Alluvial Falls” in Rocky Mountain National Park pre-2013 flood. The post-flood falls have now been completely redesigned and Roaring River basin relocated. The trails to the falls have been destroyed and are now replaced by boulder fields as viewed below. I did a rock scramble through the boulder fields recently to see the newly-created falls. There is no clear path and the scramble is a challenge. Yet, I was able to photograph (above) the post-2013 flood Alluvial Falls and show the completely new landscape created by the flood.
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.
As most of you know, I live in Lyons, CO. My little town of approximately 1,700 people was severely damaged and affected by the flooding that started in Colorado on September 11th, 2013. Our town was divided by flood water into 6 separate islands. The damage has been estimated over $50,000,000 to homes, infrastructure and utilities. Without water, sewer, electric and gas, some residents (as myself) were displaced for over 2 months from their homes. Yet, there are many residents still displaced and it is 3 months after the flood experience.
The event was terrifying and our evacuation after several days was frightening. It was only then that we were able to witness the devastation to our town – both its homes and landscape. However, throughout it all, there were strangers helping strangers; neighbors helping neighbors; there was compassion; there were acts of kindness; there was love.
So, my “5” blog posts labelled “2013” will be my Christmas card this year. Each photograph with these posts is a sunrise taken at Rocky Mountain National Park. The photographs are a reminder that each morning is a new beginning to accept challenges with a new attitude toward life and living. Each photograph is a reminder to live life fully and to embrace the people around you with love and support. Each photograph is a reminder that our life is fragile and composed of magical moments for us to make choices that support our aliveness.
Peace & blessings,
“The most invisible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible – without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt – their medium is their being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don’t have to draw. They are the artists of being alive.” J. Stone
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” Shakti Gawain
“Beginning to tune into even the minutest feelings of … gratitude softens us … If we begin to acknowledge these moments and cherish them … then no matter how fleeting and tiny this good heart may seem, it will gradually, at it own speed, expand.” Pema Chodron
“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” Henry Miller
“Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. She gives most who gives with Joy.” Mother Teresa
“Let’s feel the magic of those two little, big words: Thank You.” Ardath Rodale
THANK YOU to all the volunteers who have helped everyone in the town of Lyons, CO. THANK YOU to all who have sent donations to help us. THANK YOU for your friendship and love. May you be blessed always.
Happy New Year!