This morning you will find us lazing about. The first snow of the year is sitting in a light dusting outside the windows while the wood stoves are blazing, giving a cozy feel and smell to the house. Youngest daughter lounges next to me on the couch, absorbed in a book while she pets a purring barn cat who made his way inside this morning to get away from the chill. Oldest son is enjoying diligently watching the fires and keeping us all warm, while youngest son plays on the floor near my feet. Oldest daughter is in the kitchen, baking up something sweet for our family to enjoy. I am knitting away at my sweater and thinking back on this day a year ago when flood waters tore through Colorado, leaving loss and destruction everywhere they went. If you weren’t with Willow Creek Farm a year ago, you can read about the flood by clicking on Colorado Flooding 2013 on the sidebar in the categories box.
It is hard to believe it has been a year. There has been a lot of progress, and yet there are still a lot of scars on the landscape, continually reminding us of the power of large amounts of running water. Most all of the roads are use-able, though many still have patches of bumpy dirt where asphalt should be, and plans to fix them are still a year out from now. There are still severely damaged houses that haven’t been torn down yet. But there are also quite a few new houses going up to replace ones that have been torn out already. There are still some people who don’t have driveway access to their homes. Many people still haven’t been able to move back to their previous homes or businesses. Construction is ongoing on the major roads. The temporary utility lines run last year are still in process of being replaced with a new permanent system. Some riverbeds have been fixed up, but some still look just like they did when the waters receded, except they now have some greenery trying to grow in the silt and sand.
Willow Creek Farm is largely unaffected at this point. We are still on some temporary utilities, but that will soon be changed. When we leave our property we deal with road damage, but it is minor. Our basement still hasn’t had new flooring put back in, but that doesn’t bother us. It is more a fact of we have a new normal; a new landscape around us down by the creek and out on the road. Time will change it. But I have been amazed to see how long the aftermath of a natural disaster lives on. Before this flooding we had only seen disasters in the media. After the media coverage was over, we tended to forget about it and didn’t really realize that a year or more later people were still dealing with it. We now know all too well about natural disasters.
We are very blessed to have had so many people help us through it. The outpouring of love from friends, family, and even strangers has left permanent marks on our hearts. We will never forget how it felt to have people gather around us and carry us through. And we hope that someday we can pay that forward.
Ultimately, when we reflect back on the flood, we have a few memories of the fear and stress, but mostly we just remember the love and community. And that is a wonderful thing.