The rains last month were nothing short of epic. It might not have been 40 days, but 4 straight days of rain in Boulder felt biblical. I’ve never seen the ground so saturated. More than 2 weeks after the flooding happened here, there’s still standing water on my street:
Although we were more fortunate than many, we still flooded, our basement is gutted, furniture got ruined and our lives were majorly shaken up by the sirens, reverse 911 calls saying “Get to higher ground”, seeing our backyard turn into a brown raging river and hearing about a possible 30 foot wall of water headed our way, containing boulders, cars and sure disaster. And did I mention, everything happened after dark? It’s been hard to wrap my head around the events that happened. Andy and I look back and realize we were in shock the first few days. “Why didn’t we move those drawers off the carpet?” I ask myself out loud. It was because I never dreamed the rain would continue and we would get flooded a second time on the second night, this time with raw sewage and higher water lines on the dry wall. “Why didn’t we start cutting the dry wall away immediately?” I wonder. It’s because I couldn’t deal with the basement anymore, so I shut the door to the downstairs, compartmentallizing what I could deal with. Until the smell of mildew started to creep in. It’s been humbling to see how vulnerable we are compared to Mother Nature and to see how easily I can be cracked by disturbances in my “normal.” I want to be like grass, bending under the water weight, graceful and strong.
If you want to read a fantastic write-up on the collective trauma this region went through, read this woman’s account. Here’s one quote from her piece: “Humans have a biological need to “orient” in the face of threat. To assess for danger, and when the danger no longer looms, to create safety. We need to find our ground again. Especially when there are cracks and rivers where the roads used to be.” Amen.
We do need to find our ground again…here at home. Or at least, that’s my impulse. To take comfort in the familiar. I’m attached to ritual and routine. I feel untethered right now, I’m tired and my immune system feels compromised. Everything here is topsy turvy. Our furniture is out on the street, or in the garage. Andy’s office has now moved into my space. I feel squeezed. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, and it makes me cranky and brittle. “Let me be like grass…” is my mantra these days.
Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.
I am leaving for India in 3 days. India, the queen of unfamiliar and untethered. The place that knocks me off my feet and pins me down until I surrender: powerless and open. The best advice I can give anyone who is about to travel in India is to let go of all expectations and need for control. When I’m there, I am devoted to the present moment with a fierceness that knows this is my salvation in a completely foreign world. In India, I “Let go and let God” and I love it. The rains last month have given me a head start for India by exposing my rigidity and reminding me that control is always an illusion. I pray to keep supple, so that I may bend, not break. I pray I may keep opening my heart and my hands so that I may release my death grip on what I think I need or must have. I pray for all those affected by this flood and all floods everywhere. I pray for the group of women that are about to embark on the India trip – for safe travels, the warmth of community, and heart-openings. I give thanks for the gifts I have received from the heavy rains – the literal washing away of things that no longer serve. The cleansing and purifying of my home and land. The heart-healing from mending severed ties through offering helping hands. For the trees that look more refreshed than they have in a decade. For my home in Boulder and my home in India and my home in Santa Cruz. Home is truly where the heart is.