It is the strangest sensation to read a social media post saying that your residence is under an evacuation alert. For me there is a split second of no, this can not be happening to what do I need to do to make sure we are safe and ready?
Not only are we in the midst of self isolation, social distancing and an interupted lifestyle due to the COVID-19 pandemic but now let’s throw in the highest river/creek levels in 20 years for good measure!
Last Wednesday, we First Responders were called out to a house fire that consumed two structures. It was brutal. This week flooding.
I was at the office when I received a notification from social media that something was up, and things were progressing. A friend messaged me a news clip of an announcement of an evacatuation order for the Village of Cache Creek. I immediately looked it up and it was for the east side of the community. We are good, I said. Then my phone pinged again. I was in the midst of an email and thought something does not feel right. I looked up the notification to see that our mobile home park was now under an alert.
I called a friend and she immediately said you need to go home. Yes, I do. Put the server up high and go. Right, I said. I did not think of that. I looked around my office and the other vacant rooms and moved all hard drives onto the desks, and made sure all cords etc were off the floor. Boxes of paperwork were placed as high as I could put them. Doors were closed, equipment shut down and out I went grabbing the portable office equipment as I left.
Breathe, go to ESS and touch base. Call daughter make sure she is aware and okay. Ask her to begin packing essentials for her and her pets. No panic but we need to be ready to go. Okay she said.
That was it. No questions, no drama, just okay. Why? She is 15 you would expect a teen to react, right? Not my children. They respond and they respond immediately. Unfortunately, this is not her first evacuation, sudden move or relocation. She knows exactly what to do. Sigh.
I went to the ESS center and saw some familiar faces. Sad with being in self confinement for the last few weeks that one can not even go for tea with a friend; however, there she was. She said I probably won’t see you later. Okay. Is that because you won’t be here? No, we may need to have another arrangement. Okay, I said here is my plan. We are going to the farm with our pets. We are packing and will be ready to go once the order is given. In that case, she said check in here before you go. The assistant chief was there and said Marcie, with you being under alert you are not expected to show up if we get a call. Your daughter is your priority. Thanks for the reminder, I said. I am all she has here, and she is my first concern. He nodded. I said as I was leaving and I hope not to see any of you later! We all laughed in acknowledgement.
Miss my friends but this is not how I imagined I would see them. Again shoulder to shoulder, boot laces to boot laces on the front lines filling in the cracks with sandbags to protect our firehall and our community into the later hours of the night the evening before as the creek was rising and now the situation was escalating enough to put a large number of the community on notice. Okay, not quite shoulder to shoulder due to social distancing but you get the point.
ESS – Essential services. The first ones who are in contact with displaced residents. They are the front line to the emotion, heart break, frustration and anxiety of the community. Unfortuanely, they also tend to be the last to know of any changes, or shifts in response. I have been there and have done that. Not easy at all. We are so fortunate to have an amazing ESS leader and team. They are volunteers and in the last few days have put in many hours, and then also need to tend to their own families, work responsibilities and commitments. Volunteers are heroes. Without community volunteers there would not be a community.
In the midst of this there are so many emotions, reations and responses. We react, respond, laugh, cry and occasionaly implode. This is not easy for anyone. This yearly freshet that descends upon, through and around our community can and does bring out the best and sometimes worst.
We live here, we see it and we know. We get shovels, bags and sand ready. We fill, pack and work together.
We work together. There is no time for woe is me, if only, why is this happening drama. You move, you do, you go. There is time for reflection after. If you can not be of assistance then you know to move out of the way and let those we can, do.
Occasionally, there are those who immediately go to complain, and critique mode. It is just a coping mechanism. You learn to tune it out. You have to. There is to much to actual do to assist to listen to or read the melodrama.
Then there are those who grab their shovel and head to the sandpile and start shoveling. They put their concerns and energy into forward moving action to help. To help. They get involved and they help. They safely assist when and where needed.
They are heroes. These community warriors who do what they can, when they can to be there to assist no matter what. These are the people I enjoy spending time with. The doers. We thankfully have many doers in our community and in our neighbouring communities. I know I may be a single parent but I am not and never feel alone. Messages of support buzz on my phone. Calls of comfort and care ring the line. Nope, not alone.
We are packed, we are ready and we have a safe caring place to go.
I chose the image for this as it is the first vegetable we harvest each spring. My parents taught me how to find and harvest it and I have shown my children and a few friends. Asparagus is a sure sign that spring is here. New life, growth and renewal. The water we are receiving now brings life with it. It allows the fish passage to return to spawn, it provides nutrients to plants and restores the earth. We need the creeks, rivers and streams. We need to be careful during this time to keep our distance and to take care of each other. The banks are unstable and the current is predictable.
As mom used to say this too shall pass. As we wait for it to do so what shall we do to help and not hinder?
Be safe, and if you can stay home do so. If you need assistance or someone to talk to call someone.
Your are not alone. You may feel lonely during this time, I know I do, but I know that a friendly voice is just a call away or down the hall.