“How did you feel when Lord Shiva went down the river?”
I turned to my new friend, Govind. With Cadbury chocolate bar-colored skin, balding head and round glasses, he truly resembles Ghandi. We were sitting on the steps of Triveni Ghat in Rishikesh, India during puja (nightly prayer ritual) gazing at the Ganges River. I saw what’s left of what was—until June that year when the waters came—a statue of the Hindu deity that once stood eighteen feet high.
It was October 2013. One month prior a mighty flood swallowed up my own beloved town of Lyons Colorado. A flood of “biblical proportions.” I’d seen cars, oil tanks and houses get ripped apart by the river. There was essentially a swath where the landscape had been demolished and replaced with brown silt, sand and enormous boulders. Parks and trails were just gone now, neighborhoods in ruin and lives forever changed.
I sat and stared at what’s left of the Lord Shiva statue---just legs---listening to the devotional singing. I was in profound awareness of the power of Nature, of life’s ever-changing rhythms, of impermanence. Govind shook his head gently back and forth, like many Indians do, his eyes smiling. “It’s no problem. It’s nature. We go on.”
Today marks the one year anniversary of the flood that ravaged my hometown. Twenty percent of our residents are still displaced, homes stand upon stilts, parks wait to be re-built, re-created. Still. This past year I have seen resiliency, good humor, real emotion---love---pour out of people and back into each other, our homes and the land.
It's no problem. It's nature.
We go on.