Alberta Floods: We Are Not In Control


Normally, the soft, baby-like, pitter patter of rain eases me into sleep, this night, however, it’s tippity-tapping through the dark hours spells a growing gloom in my heart; the already swollen Bow River rises silently outside my apartment building.

By morning, yellow police tape has been strung across the water logged parking lot.  Beyond it, the picnic grounds flooded, a current of muddy water runs depressingly fast past tables and fire pits.   Slate grey clouds hang low in the valley, shrouding the mountains from view, casting an eery morning twilight.  On the drive to work, windshield wipers flapping away, lines of cars and trucks are strung along the Trans-Canada Highway.  Something serious is unfolding.  Nervous newscasters talk of washed out bridges and mudslides east and west of Banff and Canmore.

There will be no cheery “Welcome to the magnificent Canadian Rockies!” this day.   Mother Nature is demonstrating her power to interfere, alter, and disrupt the geography of the land and the lives of her children.  Wagging a wet, soggy finger, she reminds us of our place in the natural order of things, and we are not first.

The spectacular beauty of Banff cannot mask the reality that one more landslide, another 50mm of rain, and we are in serious trouble.   A run on milk, water, and bread in the local grocery stores proves the fear of people here.

We are not in control.  Nature holds the cards, not the other way round.   We can fly above the clouds – in outer space even – we can build sky scrapers, manipulate atoms with technology, but, we have no choice but to submit the vagaries of nature.

We need not fear for the next calamity, but we must understand our place in the natural order, treating all matters of life with humility, deference, and respect.  All life is precious, from conception to natural death; it is the way of natural law and only a fool would ignore it; just as surely as the pitter patter of rain spells rising water in the Bow River.

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