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.
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.
Now, near the playground, a vegetable garden has been planted, where flood waters stood 9 months ago.
In nearby houses, in the flooded part of my neighborhood, domestic and wildflowers bloom, too. Nature is healing us.
Nature heals. A new beginning.