The silence was eerie after four days of pounding rain. I realized that my ears had become accustom to the sound of the raindrops hitting the roof of our house. What began as a strong concern for people of Boulder and the surrounding areas, after three days of nonstop rain, turned into terror within a couple of hours. Clouds parked themselves over our city and let loose a torrential down-pouring of epic proportions. Flood sirens began to scream out and a warning flashed on the television screen to alert us that Boulder was in a state of emergency. I rushed into the living room on my way upstairs to tell my husband and realized that water was coming through our walls and windows. Moments later, as the two of us stood in the living room assessing the situation, the power went out and we could see that all of Boulder was dark.
We were able to get snippets of information on our cell phones through Facebook and saw that the Boulder Office of Emergency Management was telling people in the canyons to run to higher ground immediately. I thought of these people in the pitch dark, maybe some with children or the elderly, trying to climb the mountainsides to get out of the way of the twenty-foot wall of water that was roaring down the canyon. I couldn’t stop crying.
We barely slept but did doze off for a couple of hours and woke to the morning light and the sound of rain still coming down. It rained all day and again all night. An occasional alert would come from Boulder Office of Emergency Management instructing people in different areas to rush to higher ground. We were safe in our home but reading the messages warning of a thirty-foot surge of water carrying cars and debris was horrifying and unimaginable.
The following morning we woke to the sound of silence. No rain. We ventured outside and talked to neighbors who were gathering to swap stories of damage to homes and to exchange information about what someone may have heard regarding our lack of gas and electricity.
A volunteer fireman drove by and informed us that there was no way out of our neighborhood. Roads had been washed away or covered by mud and rock slides. We commiserated and agreed that we were all fortunate to have survived the storm with little more than the inconvenience of being without electricity and gas. We are okay for now, we have food and candles – we are fine.
Desperate for a cup of coffee, my husband ground coffee beans by bashing them with a rolling-pin and then brewing them cowboy coffee style in a pot of water over our old Weber grill which still had some propane in it. The following day we used my grandmother’s molcajete and pestle to grind the beans. We’ve been able to use the grill not only to brew coffee but also to make…
….with tortillas supervised by our pup, China…
…and I even made homemade English muffins with eggs for us this morning.
Anyone who knows me well understands that one of the most comforting and relaxing activities for me is cooking. This week was no different. Challenged with what we have on hand and few resources, we have been having some fun finding creative ways to pull our meals together and turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak.
For Ric and me, this has been an amazing experience where comforting each other and working together through a tough and frightening situation expresses once more in dramatic terms how solid we are as couple.
Boulder is a close-knit community now traumatized by this disaster, if not by what we went through individually, then by loss of homes and life that we are witnessing of friends, family, our collective Boulder family and the surrounding areas. As bad as things have been, there is always that silver lining of community coming together and our neighborhood has been no different. People are sharing food and checking in on others to make sure that they are safe and not in need.
One last comment, it may be that it is only during the call to action of emergency responders that we truly know how incredible and brave these human beings are. There are no words to express the depth of gratitude my husband and I feel towards these men and women who we have seen on the ground and in the air in our neighborhood where we lost three people to the flood waters. We see the helicopters flying into the mountains and canyons where they are airlifting the stranded and injured, we see the volunteer firemen and women who stood for hours in the rain directing traffic, going through the streets informing us of the changing situation and the contractors who are working nonstop to clear roads so help can get to those who need it and we know of the many who risked their lives to save others in the midst of the worst of this flood. These are the heroes we are bowing to in sincere appreciation and thanks.
Note about how this was posted: since we are without electricity, we have been charging our cell phones and computers in our car, which we had the good fortune of filling up just before the flooding began. We are able to get cell reception by driving to the edge of the mountain where we park to make our calls and that is how I was able to post this blog post.