As the River…

They’ve started the evacuations.
Most vulnerable first.
The rest of the community just waits.

Talks of where people will be placed, 
what will fit in our bags to fall under the maximum weights,
anger at having to evacuate at all,
racism they will face when they’re down south,
the status of the dyke, 
and will Kash be forced to move 
as a result of inadequate solutions to infrastructure
and lack of compassionate care.

But it’s not just the threat of flooding 
or destruction of houses. 
There’s water problems in town, boil advisories, and shut-offs
and the ever constant state of emergency with mental health, 
addictions, abuse and suicide. 
Where is the reprieve?! 
What voices need to be spoken and heard 
for things to change?!

I find Fluffy and Aurora on my porch.
They make me want to walk and play and be outside.
We walk…
past the school and the store road,
up the dyke,
where the sunset should be.
There’s only a grey sky today.
Spring and warmer weather and rain are coming.

Aurora looks like she’s smiling.
We skip ahead and run a little.
They don’t have any worries
and that makes me happy.
They are not thinking of planning trips,
or worrying about the flood,
or which plane they’ll be flying on,
what they’ll have to take
or where they’ll be going…
They just run
and find moose legs
and wander through the brush and puddles.
We all need this sense of peace and reprieve sometimes.

The warm winds blow.
You can see the water flowing on the sides of the raised river now.
The ice is melting.
It’s going to get jammed up 
as the huge chunks of ice all try to find space
through the river channel.

There’s girls dancing down by the filling ditches
in their yards cluttered with cars and stuff.
They’re laughing though
and shouting “hi”.
I shout hi back and tell them I like their dancing.
They giggle :)

Snow flurries float down slowly and lightly
through the air
as I watch kids start to gather on the dyke
for the annual show.

The dyke offers a temporary and unstable protective barrier for the people,
but the river doesn’t care about such things. 
It continues to flow
and rise…according to the atmosphere and universe.
It pays no attention
to the ruined houses, costs of flights or where it’ll end up.

A lot of anxieties and questions rush through the town,
but there’s also a lot of patience
and acceptance.
They follow the flow
as the river.
There’s nothing else to do in town tonight but watch
and wait.

But sometimes 
as the river
There will be obstacles and uncertainties
and rumbling anger.
The people who reside along the river, 
will overcome this
as they have for many many years.

But what do we do to help?!
Throw them on planes and into new towns and hotels.
What do we need to do to help find ways through the rubble
and uncertainty
and constant states of emergency and dependency?!

As the river,
When are we going to find the flow
on beautiful boats instead of life rafts
with soul-filled solutions of purpose
instead of scrambling for the bandaids?!

Who are the ones who need to alter?!
The one flowing by as it always has
or the ones standing firm/confused/dependent on it’s shores
deciding for various and complex reasons to attempt to conquer nature
or deserve to live in constant survival mode and state of emergencies?!
The people who put this community here before wanted to conquer only one thing.

As the river,
how are we going to float through our lives
with the current
letting it all go
and finding connection in all of that?!

As the river…
how do we flow when the waters are high
stay still when the winds are quiet
whirl with power and grace when life puts down rocks
lay low when the sun is strong
rest when the winds are cold and the ice is thick?!

Let us now flow 
with understanding, compassion
peace, acceptance
courage, strength
and wisdom
as the river
as one.

As the universe
asks us to be.


I don’t know?!

Ask the river.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Ruth Stadelmayer’s story.