Fighting The Right Battle(s)

2013 September 18
by Grace Boyle

As you might have heard, Colorado, specifically the Front Range has had some horrible flooding; a “biblical” flood. Last week I was on a work trip in Cleveland and I watched nervously from afar as we were headed back to fly in Thursday (where it came to a head). Our place is right on the creek, at the mouth of the Canyon and against the mountains – essentially ground zero for Boulder’s flooding area.

2013-09-14T024215Z_193094469_TM4E99D1QTG01_RTRMADP_3_USA-COLORADO-FLOODING

I refreshed Twitter madly on the airplane WiFi and felt helpless strapped into my seat, hearing about the water rising and the amount of rain we had already received (unheard of, we’re usually hoping for rain in dry fire-ridden Colorado). It’s a 0.1% probability of such a rainstorm occurring in any given year in Boulder County. This is the biggest air rescue since Katrina. It’s for real.

Boulder 100 Year Flood

I drove in alone from the airport, watching the wall of black against the mountains as I headed in to Boulder from the Denver airport. I only hydroplaned a few times and stopped at a friends place who was safe from flooding. I finally arranged for a neighbor to come and get me in a truck. It wasn’t possible for me to drive into our place, as the roads were already becoming rivers.

They had been manning our street, setting up barriers, diverting the flood water coming from all areas toward our complex. It looked like a third-world country when you got to our street and the water kept rising. A river of water was madly rushing where our driveway was, headed straight for the creek and through our side yard a steady stream hadn’t stopped flowing for a day.

We were on the second floor, so we were housing neighbors on the first floor. Half of which already began flooding.

Long story short – it was a scary 48 hours. We were up all night Thursday, unable to sleep and finally trekked to the third floor due to evacuation notices (we weren’t going to leave on foot as they suggested). We are lucky and much better off than many others. Our place is personally dry and we were able to finally leave Saturday as our road opened up.

I’ve been evacuated before amidst a national disaster (fire and flood warning in the past here in Boulder) and written about it here where you have to gather up the few things that are important and depart with a hopeful heart. As I put it: Where happiness exists and knowing that things are just things; so I’ve been there. I have found that the best and worst come out in people in disasters such as these. It’s inspiring to see people coming together, sharing, helping and doing whatever it takes for your neighbors and loved ones. People also lose their shit, but I understand why. It’s shattering and uneasy.

It reminds you that in the scheme of things, a lot of things don’t really matter. For instance, it drives me mad that James insists on wheeling in his bicycle into our small apartment. He leaves it right in the main entry way and in the kitchen. It takes up space, it is covered in mud from being ridden to and from work and aesthetically, I’m not into it. We don’t have a garage or basement, otherwise, bike inside is no big deal. We just don’t have a ton of space.

We have a private porch with bike racks and bike racks around our complex. I keep mine on our porch locked up. All of a sudden, he doesn’t want to do that and his lock doesn’t work that way. It’s a newer bike so he keeps it inside.

It’s stupid really. And compromising is important. We’ve finally agreed, if you insist on having it inside, that he can wheel it into the guest room so it’s out of the way and not an eye sore.

You know these little things that just bug you. You know they aren’t a big deal but it just gets under my skin. It’s a little thing. After all this, going through this together and the fear and rising water and being stuck in our place for three days, it just doesn’t matter. It’s worth letting these things go. After all, hundreds of people have lost their entire homes, lives have been lost, and some people are still stuck out there.

It’s about a paradigm shift and just realigning your priorities to what really matters. The bicycle? Really small detail in the big picture. Time to wake up.

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  • http://www.akirahrobinson.com/ Akirah Robinson

    Man, I am so sorry for what your city has and is going through these days. The pictures look absolutely awful. And you’re right…these things certainly have a way of reminding us of what’s TRULY important. Hang in there.

  • http://graceboyle.com/ Grace Boyle

    Thank you! We are safe and dry, mostly trying to help out others who are far less fortunate. Thanks for the kind words :)

  • http://www.tracy-says.tumblr.com/ Tracy Schwartz

    Glad you are safe, sad to hear how destroyed the area is. The same thing happened when I was in NJ and we lived through Hurricane Sandy. It is a great reminder to be thankful and to give back and help those who are struggling worse through the same thing.

  • http://graceboyle.com/ Grace Boyle

    So true! A good friend of mine was home for Sandy on the shore and now lives in Boulder. She was reminding of all the same flashbacks. It is no fun!

  • http://www.winterwisdom.com/welcome David Carroll

    That’s pretty shocking stuff Grace, but I suppose nothing gives you perspective like a natural disaster. We get so caught up in minutiae when really we should be trying to enjoy every minute of our short lives. It’s fascinating to see you go through the journey of realizing this through your post. Thanks for sharing!