Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Flood into Art, Part 1

Sharon Wildwind

If Calgary as made it to your local newscast in the past five days, you are aware that southern Alberta has experienced a week of flooding.

On June 21st both rivers that run through the middle of Calgary reached unprecedented flood levels. 75,000 city residents, who lived in 27 neighborhoods bordering the rivers, were mandatorily evacuated. Because of the city’s prompt action, there was one fatality.

At the outset, let me say that our family is safe. We live 6 blocks from the mandatory evacuation areas, and have weathered the past five days in good shape.

As of June 24th
  • 7 neighborhoods are still under partial evacuation orders and another four remain completely closed due to high water.
  • 24,000 households will be without electricity for the foreseeable future. This includes the entire downtown area, where 3,099 high rise buildings, including a brand-new 58-story The Bow office building, must be individually inspected for damage to their electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and gas systems before they can be reopened and clean-up begun.
  • Thousands of homes have river water and/or sewage in their basements and first floors.
  • Historic sites — the 19th century sandstone City Hall; the original Fort Calgary built by the Northwest Mounted Police; the Calgary Stampede Grounds; the Calgary Flames’ Saddledome; and the city’s original French neighborhood (the Village of Rouleauville, now called Mission) — are severely damaged.

As I monitored various local sites and Twitter feeds for updates, I came across a press release from an electric company that manages eleven hydroelectric dams on the flooded rivers. At first I thought the dams’ descriptions might make a poem. They were

Shut down for repairs.
Inflow decreasing slowly and reservoir levels stable.
Inflow and reservoir levels decreasing slowly.
Inflow and reservoir levels steady.
Storing all inflow.
All dams are holding.

I realized those same phrases often describe out head space as writers.

In the best of times both our inflow and our productivity are steady. Then comes times when the productivity is good, but we have a nagging feeling that our creative juices, our inflow, are drying up. That feeling gets stronger; we realize it’s not just our inflow, but our ability to cope, our reservoirs, that are depleted. Sometime the system gets blocked: inflow is being stored, nothing is coming out. At the worst of times, we have to go down for repairs.
Here's my mood spinner. Make one for yourself.
I turned the electric company’s phrases into a mood spinner. Then I thought it would be fun if you could do your own spinner. I’ve put a .pdf of the basic design on my web site. It’s available for download, so that you can add your own thoughts, decorate it, and add some color. Go here to get the download.

As we're saying to one another here, stay safe.

Quote for the week from Calgary Transit.
Photo © Calgary Transit. Shows the downtown City Hall C-train station. The C-train is Calgary's light rapid transit system.


Kath Marsh said...

I am so sorry you are undergoing these floods! Indeed it had not made my local news. I'm glad you are safe.

Your mood wheel is ingenious. I think my husband would appreciate this kind of heads up in general!

Sharon Wildwind said...

Thanks, Kath. I suggest you give your husband the downloaded .pdf and a box of crayons or colored pencils.

Kath Marsh said...

LOL!!! Keep him busy. WAit. What if he makes his own? Hmmm. That could really keep him busy.

Could you keep us posted on how you all are doing?