Friday, June 8, 2012

Flowers Bloom Where Flood Waters Stood

Today the commemoration of the 9 month flood anniversary here in upstate New York continues.  Once again, I am not following the prompt for the Author Blog Challenge but following my heart.  Who knows, one day, some kind of book will come out of all those posts with the "Binghamton Flood of 2011" label.

So much to write about.

I could post a list of businesses and roads still reopening.  That would be the easy way out.  Rather, I want to talk about the fact that on Saturday, my neighborhood YMCA celebrated a new beginning.
I took this photo near the Y parking lot on September 11, 2011 - the closest we could get to the building on that day that so many of us were let back into our neighborhood.  That isn't snow. That's mud left from the waters that receded. There was still flood water not that far away.   Fortunately you can't smell that scene.  Fortunately, not that much water (comparatively) entered the building.  If you look past that gas station (which was closed for nearly two months) know that some 8 feet of water covered parts of that road a couple of days before. 

The Y reopened on September 19.  No furniture, no lockers, bare concrete floors, but we quickly learned that all you need is the basics.  A roof.  Caring staff.  Pegs to hang our clothes on.

And then, less than a month later, a 2 alarm fire struck the Y.  Back to square one.  In some ways, the fire was even worse than the flood.  Now we members were exercising in a facility with wires hanging down, with ceilings missing (stripped to the studs), with the gym (near where the fire started) closed for months, with the smell of smoke everywhere,  Never mind us.  The staff had to work there, and work they did.  Many of their members had been through the flood.  Some of the staff members had been through the flood, too.

Slowly, painfully slowly, the Y building returned to normal.  Ceilings reappeared.  Then lockers.  Slowly, the walls were painted.  The smell of paint replaced the stench of smoke.   An actual front desk replaced the card tables. Carpet was laid over a period of a couple of weeks, and then, finally, the gym reopened.

And now, the Y is in bloom - literally  In the front. flowers bloom profusely. The flood waters didn't cover the planters, thankfully.

An iris brightens the day.

Now, near the playground, a vegetable garden has been planted, where flood waters stood 9 months ago.
Welcome to the Y garden.

Tomatoes and pepper plants grow in a narrow strip of land, also where flood waters stood, and seeds planted on Saturday should be sprouting soon.

 In nearby houses, in the flooded part of my neighborhood, domestic and wildflowers bloom, too.  Nature is healing us.
In the yard of perhaps the oldest house in my neighborhood (I'm told it dates from the 1800's) a chicory bloom, so beautifully blue.
And, next to a little apartment house that is still undergoing repairs, a hydrangea bush comes into bloom.

Nature heals.  A new beginning.


1 comment:

  1. I can identify with this. My hometown in Louisiana was wracked with Katrina and Rita floods and the town where I lived for a while in Tennessee was wraught by tornadoes last year. But life finds a way. People rebuild. It's heartwarming to see them come together when they know another human is in need. Like 9-11 when the streets were suddenly congested with, not cars, people. People on their way to the hospitals to give blood they knew would be badly needed. It made me proud to be a human, an American, and a member of a society that can put away fear when helping others becomes a priority. An inspiring post! WRITE ON!


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