When much of Southern Alberta flooded in June of 2013 I could barely sleep, I knew it was history in the making and I had to be out with my camera. I drove around for three days, running on very little sleep, taking it all in. The water rose higher and higher while the City was at a standstill, bracing for the worst. Experiencing the great flood of 2013 first hand was eerie, sad and awe inspiring. I was able to witness strangers standing side by side on hill tops in complete silence watching the water rise, helpless to do anything but wait and see what comes next. I was also able to witness the mindblowing amount of kindness and generosity shown by strangers from all over the city, province, country and world that could restore even the most grinchlike person's faith in humanity.
The sheer amount and power of the water was hard to comprehend. It still is. Downtown sat closed off and silent save for the sound of rushing water, sirens and distant generators furiously trying to keep flood waters at bay. The radio was a constant barrage of road closures and updates on water levels dotted with the Emergeny Broadcast System reports as one by one communities across Alberta were evacuated.
When the water receded and the damage fully revealed, it was difficult for every body. It was difficult for those who lost their loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods, their possessions. It was also difficult for the countless volunteers who helped strangers rebuild, knowing that no amount of work they do will make it hurt less for their neighbours. The moment that the sheer amount of loss struck me was after an evening of volunteering in Bowness. I drove past pieces of a piano that had been left curbside and I knew I had to photograph it. To me, the single image of a lost family heirloom, sitting abandoned at the side of the road embodied the loss more than any photo of a water logged basement or mangled bridge could. I went home that night and cried. The photo is now framed and hung in my own house and serves as a reminder to be thankful for what I have.