The flood at Redwood Meadows
Our community of Redwood Meadows is located along the Elbow River west of Calgary. Normally, the river is a steady flow that winds out of Kananaskis Country through the Foothills and drains into the Weaselhead delta in the city. For the past week, heavy rain and snowmelt swelled the river far above its channels and in many places along its path expanded well beyond its banks.
Owing to a sustained fight by emergency workers, volunteers, community members and skilled heavy machinery crews to reinforce the berm that separates the town from the river, the water was kept out of most houses. I did not stop to take many photographs during the river’s rise, we were sandbagging and racing to shore up the berm. I did grab a few afterwards to remember how close the water came to making things significantly worse in Redwood Meadows.
The reinforcement of the berm continues with many truckloads of concrete blocks and rock boulders being positioned to defend against the next time the Elbow’s temper flares again.
The story of this year’s flood from Bragg Creek and into Calgary (where the Elbow joined the Bow River and unleashed true destruction), is still unfolding. The waters have crested, many people are back in their homes and the cleaning up has begun. There is great community spirit at all places affected and we will all need that over the next weeks and months.
The water ripped away trees and changed the shape of the valley. It carried mud through the forest and left a heavy layer behind when it receded. I found this small flower which had weathered the deluge and seemed to be a good symbol of strength and resilience. Two qualities I have seen in my neighbours, friends and strangers who rallied to save a town and continue to work to bring it back to normal.