Big pause, big breath, big gap, big disconnection, big un-grounding. Literally unstable ground beneath our feet for upwards of eight days in what is generally known as a very arid climate. Typically here in our high desert we will pour water onto a dry houseplant to watch the water run off the dry soil before it can hold enough moisture to actually soak in. The houseplant soil then becomes saturated, and more saturated and then overly saturated and eventually the water runs over the pot of the plant. What we were experiencing a year ago here in the foothills above Boulder CO, was the same effect, but with the brute force of mother nature in charge of the watering.
September 10, 2013: I’ve been told “There is your business, someone else’s business and Gods business.” We woke up on what was to be a typical mid week day, but realized very quickly this was to be a day like none other seen in 500 years.
Our little house proved itself over these weeks of flooding. The honeymoon, however, did become officially over with our new little adobe mountain nest. We had been in the honeymoon phase of our relationship since we made the commitment to each other only 101 days pre-flood. She showed us what she’s made of and did make us proud by with standing 12” deluge of rain in one night, and over 18+ inches of rain over the following three days. As we held firm to each other, her to us by staying tight, she took on no water, us to her by aiding in exterior water flow with ditches dug. We did our best to protect her and warm her from the belly out as we christened our semi damp kiva fireplace. With some of the 80 mph gusts adding insult to injury, shuttering her floorboards, she held firm. We monitored her hourly and when she wasn’t capable of sustaining her electrical power and phone connection we dug found the candles and collected the torrential rain water. The only sustaining mark from this historical storm our home has is on our handcrafted traditional kiva adobe fireplace where we got some water seepage near the flu. Now, a year later, I often glance at this small water mark as her scar from a fierce battle of nature and remember. We are oh so lucky as we know too many who didn’t fare nearly as well.
Our foundation, adobe and beams all held, but the earth around us was getting to that saturation place. This is when the full awesome battle of water and earth unfolded. Not often do we get to witness and record the destruction that rushing water can do to the earth in a 24 hour period. The earth, solid ground, was beaten down in this battle, but didn’t give in without a fight. Earth tried clogging water with as many obstacles it could throw at it, dirt, rock, trees, cars… Us humans, we were inconsequential, irrelevant to this battle, we were innocent bystanders inadvertently, randomly, caught in the epic battlegrounds of Jamestown, Ward, Lyons, Wagonwheel Gap, N Boulder Storage, the beautiful golden field at the mouth of our main canyon road, Lee Hill, Bow mountain, boulder canyon…. These fierce battlegrounds lay scattered below us, essentially surrounding us and cutting us off from being able to leave for six days. We were told by the first responders who came to our door that our neighborhood fared quite well considering the situation encircling us. In a few days, slowly, and with much trepidation, the sun gathered its courage to stay out and hold strong. The ground below us began to dry out, the battlefields began a slow repair, the bystanders began a painful rebuilding. The new rivers and waterfalls still flow around us, however ever so subtly and carefully they begin to slowly turn down their battle cries, their volume, their intensity. The sounds of running water, our serenade nightly before sleep gingerly placing us back on solid ground.