When I walked down to Cabin Creek last week, the culvert that
had been washed away two weeks ago had been replaced, making the main road out
of Meeker Park suddenly accessible.
Last week in Boulder all the trails were closed because of flood damage. It’s been frustrating, because there’s no place to go except for city sidewalks. Later in the week, the city opened one trail by my house. When I hiked it, I thought, “My world is returning. Things are getting back to normal.”
Best of all, at the cabin this week, the sun had come out, the temperature was warm, and the aspen were just starting to turn gold (one to two weeks late, another sign of things not quite right). When I was stranded here two weeks ago, my place of refuge had suddenly become a place of discomfort and unease; with the roads out and the creeks flooded, the world had been set ajar, out of its natural order. But this week the world, the one I love, started to come back. Even my favorite pond (top) was saved, and the dragonflies were still active.
There are still pieces missing. As the creeks recede in Meeker Park, the damage is more obvious: creeks that have found new routes through the meadow and forests; side roads still obliterated by wide, still rushing creeks. In Rocky Mountain National Park early this week all the trails were closed, every single one, presumably from flood damage. Not even during the fires did they close the whole park down.
I want the world to return to what was familiar, to what is safe and stable, even while I know that change is one of the constants of life, that we can’t cling to the way things were. Yet I can’t help but feel that when the floods came and washed away whole canyons and hillsides, a part of me went with them. I lost places I love. They were a piece of me, part of my history.
Those who have lost homes and their towns have suffered more, yet everyone here has lost familiar landscapes. At the same time, we’ve had to learn new ones—new routes through the mountains, new towns to go through. When I talked to people these days about the flood, I get a sense of unease, as if we’ve all gone through a trauma, the world ripped apart and changed so quickly.
At the cabin last week, I hiked up a once familiar road that now had four-feet deep craters in it (above) and up a trail that had been washed out in places. From the other side of the aspens I heard loud yelling from the meadow. I assumed it was people trying to clear the road so they could get their car out. But when I got high enough, I realized two people were trying to fly a kite. A big red kite flying high above all the damaged roads, rechanneled creeks and ponds filled with mud—soaring against the impassive face of Mount Meeker.