I didn't understand until today the amount of devastation that hit from North Carolina all the way to Vermont and beyond. I am only now just beginning to understand.
I don't think media is really putting it out there how much damage was done from this flooding. I got a call from a friend in North Jersey today who really broke it down for me, admittedly I was shocked. So much so that I spent some time today reviewing videos people have posted on the internet.
I lived most of my life in areas that are presently suffering from massive floods. One town in particular where I lived has suffered over and over and over; and will continue to suffer more floods in the future. The town is in place it doesn't belong. Its surrounded by water, and has a tendency to flood. Not those once every 100 year events, but major flooding what now seems like at least every 5 years. To see pictures of the same homes, businesses and streets under water is heartbreaking.
People like me live in places like that because its where we were born, and don't know any different. Many of us wonder "where would I go anyway" so some of us stay. I'm not sure what possessed me to stay so long once I was old enough to make my own decisions. I did love having drastic extremes in nature; mountains 1 hour this way, shore a quick drive that way. City just over there, park right next door. Was that why? I even bought a home way too close to a major a river. I had water in the basement a couple times, nothing major. I am sadly convinced this time around my beloved ex-home is full of water. I also had a business on a street near another river. I know that property is swamped today.
Right now I live in a structure less than 50 yards from the Atlantic ocean. Talk about crazy, right? Yet, oddly, here I am in one of the highest risk areas (according to insurance companies) for destruction from hurricanes, and today I am among the most fortunate around. Sitting in sunshine, gentle breezes, and watching birds soar above. Such a stark contrast to the roads caving in, dams breaking, homes and businesses being swamped, and people without water, power or other services. Or, worse, people who have paid the ultimate price.
We'll be making a donation to the Red Cross, designating it for these new flood victims. It seems like so little, but right now its all I can do. My heart is heavy with sadness for the towns all up and down where Irene visited and left her mark.
One day, may the good people who live in these areas which suffer again and again and again, somehow find a way to rebuild their lives, hopefully in an area that was planned better than that which is there now. It was only a roll of the dice that this time around it wasn't me. I'm not taking anything for granted, and to all the victims, my thoughts are with you.