Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Fellowship of the Flood

Earth Day has been cancelled in Binghamton, NY.

No, really, it was cancelled.  There was an Earth Day celebration at our zoo, true.  But the Earth Day celebration that would have taken place at MacArthur School in Binghamton was cancelled due to our September flood.  The flood destroyed the school.  (It may never reopen - this is still up in the air.)  There wasn't enough time to find another site. 

Just another something cancelled by the flood. The Binghamton Earth Day was always fun - we got tree seedlings, Frito Lay samples (there is a local Frito Lay plant), free seeds, plus got the chance to browse exhibits, for a very minimal admission charge.

So what we ended up doing was going up to Ithaca, which is about an hours drive from where we live near Johnson City, New York.  We visited the Farmers Market and went to the Danby Green Homes Tour, which I will blog about in the near future.  At the Tour (15 "green" houses open for touring by their owners - or at least the green energy parts) we ran into a Danby woman who was, apparently, on the same "track" as we were.

We got to talking.

Amazingly, not only was this woman familiar with our neighborhood (Westover, one of the flooded neighborhoods of the Triple Cities), but she had volunteered for the flood cleanup in Owego, one of the worst hit towns.  She told her story to us, explaining she was compelled to help.

With another woman driving, she first stopped at house after house in Candor, which is between Ithaca and Owego, offering bottled water, and whatever help she could give.   Eventually, she helped in Owego. (I blogged some about their flood recovery in November and December of last year.)  I told her about the volunteers who showed up "just because" in our neighborhood, going door to door to offer help in the worse hit parts.

And, one of the houses on the Green Tour had some flooding, too.  It's sometimes hard to remember that the floods of Irene and Lee (ours was from Lee) hit so many people in upstate NY and other parts of the Northeast.   With other flooded communities we are part of what I call The Fellowship of the Flood.

My spouse and I, living in Westover, are part of the Fellowship of the Flood.  My childho od friend in Brooklyn, battling cancer for the second time, is also a member of the Fellowship of the Flood.  Her mother lives in rural Delaware County and as of February, the closest supermarket to her house still hadn't reopened. (that village, Margaretville, was very hard hit.  And if you want to see worse, look up a village called "Prattsville".) So either my friend or another family member had to bring food, or someone had to go to the next nearest supermarket, some 20 miles away.

Nearly eight months after the flood, thinking about it can still, under certain circumstances, bring up some pretty raw emotions.  But not when talking to another member of the Fellowship of the Flood.  I get a lot of comfort from talking to other Fellows.  They understand.  They've been there.  And a lot of them had it so much worse than we did.

So much to be grateful for, as we spent a gloomy April day in Ithaca.


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