24 June 2013

Week in Review: Science Experiment Goes "Boink"

As any Calvin and Hobbes fan will recognize, the title of my post today refers to the small blond boy's escapades with his transmogrifier, a cardboard box that at times duplicated, transformed, and transported him on epic adventures. This past week I've felt like someone has transmogrified me into something I'm not usually, and taken the regular me out for pizza.

Everything aches, and I wish I was exaggerating. I have been laid out cold with a headache three times. I haven't been sleeping normally, as you can probably tell by my tweets and posts at all hours. I'm pale (for me) and wan, black circles under my eyes, and don't ask me how I'm doing because I just might start crying.

The worst part of all of this is that I have nothing to be upset, anxious, or tense about. Nothing. Yes, my province just experienced a natural disaster, but everyone I know and care about is safe and dry. My husband is off with the army being a superhero still, but I've been in touch with him the whole time he's been gone and he is doing some amazing work, work which makes me enormously proud to be his wife. Yet here I am, barely having left the apartment since he was called away.

The feelings brought up during the flooding experienced by my Southern neighbors might be part of the reason. There is nothing that prepares anyone for the absolute pit of helplessness - I know because I've been there. There's no books or courses or words of wisdom that can ease the feeling of utter despair you get when something so completely out of your control happens to you. Maybe this is what I'm reacting to - something else that's so beyond my realm of influence that it is making my body relive its ordeal. And maybe that's just my neuroses talking.

I want this post to be about more than me, though. Because even though my week was awful, there are so many people who had it worse. People who lost everything. People who feared for their lives. People who lost family members and pets. Amazing emergency responders and leaders that worked 40 hour stretches with no sleep. Police that tirelessly canvassed evacuation zones. Soldiers that searched grid by grid of Albertan countryside to make sure that no one was left behind in a danger zone. Firemen that carried old ladies and others to dry ground. Politicians that stood by, as day turned to night, and continued to give press briefings and updates with the same positive attitude they displayed at hour one. This post is about them.

I want to thank every single person who helped and is still helping my province during our time of need, whether they be first responders or concerned citizen, neighbour or friend, employed or volunteer. Even if all you've done is give someone a place to charge their phone or a hot drink on the house, thank you. The incredible outpouring of help and support of complete strangers on social media has made these difficult days into one of the most heartwarming ones I have ever experienced. I feel privileged to count myself among those that sought to keep others informed of what was happening in every corner of the province where I had a little insight. It makes me proud and humbled to be witness to all of this. 

And at the same time, it makes me a little worried about the rest of our country. One of our major cities was effectively shut down by uncontrolled weather, and I saw just as many tweets last night about the hockey game as I did about the flood conditions. I saw people attacking regular Albertans, who have very little influence in the sphere of fossil fuel energy, by calling this act of nature the result of tar sands oil production. Alberta didn't ask for this, and we certainly didn't incur the wrath of Gaia by living in this province. Before blaming global warming and specifically the major industry of our province, think about the human lives that have been affected by this, and then show some support for your fellow Canadians.

The clean up has already begun in Calgary, and though the flood waters are still high in other areas of the province, the smaller towns and First Nations territories will continue to have help rebuilding from the overwhelming response of volunteers that have risen to answer the call. For the first time since I moved to this province, I can honestly say I am a proud Albertan. Now, if I could just get some sleep.


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