Fort Vermilion Flood, 2020.
Less than twenty hours ago after a short rap on my door, I found myself stuck between stations. A mandatory evacuation with an imminent flood held at bay by the smell of peanut butter sauce for my yet to be cooked chicken pad thai. It felt weird. It felt surreal; well, I guess it was. I let my rice and Tikka Masala finish, and I packed up the ingredients for the pad thai–I couldn’t let that go to waste, could I?
The next few minutes melt together. Packing up necessities, getting Jack to stop barking, loading my car. The only thing that really stands out from this time is the feeling of driving through the road closures and blocks. It is one thing to drive past them as they are set up in your community, worn down reminders that life is uncertain, and often unsafe. It is another thing, however, to drive through them from the other side, knowing that the rest of your life is cut away by the red wooden stands.
I’ve spent all day by the water or following the updates on Facebook, which feel few and far between. I watched the water rise, run across our streets, spill over lawns, and sadly, into many of our homes and lives. As the sound of helicopters whirl around our houses, I caught their videos, resignedly watching as the water level climbed the side of my own house. I hoped and still hope that my small collection of things is safe, but I feel guilty when I do, comparing my own small lot in this flood to friends that are losing homes and live sakes. I do this with friends and cowerwirds, as we are forced to share our homes, even amid this pandemic.
As I am writing this, the power flicked and left us. I think about those who left their homes here for crowded hotels in our neighbouring community. I think about how they are even more removed from where they want to be than I am. I feel for them. My heart bleeds for them.
I didn’t think much would change for the worse again this year. I mean, what can be much worse than a global state of emergency over a pandemic keeping me away from those I love. Well, the answer, it appears, was to add a second state of emergency keeping me away from my home and its few comforts. Coupled of course, with the loss of our water treatment plants, limiting us to plastic bottles and shorten showers.
In the end though, I am lucky and I know it. I am sharing this from the comfort of another’s home. I still have a job in this uncertain time. And, moreover, I have the support of my great friends and family.