By now I'm sure many people have seen seen the devastating videos and photos taken of the damage done to Fort McMurray. I have my own photos to share which I will be able to in time. It's surreal to me in many ways to see our community so battered and bruised. I suspect the reality won't fully sink in for me until I return to see it with my own eyes. An area of forest I visited back in February for some birdwatching is now charred and black. Another entire area of town I've traipsed through to do some hiking now exists pretty much only in my memory.
While we have been beaten down somewhat, I have no doubts that, like the proverbial phoenix, we will rise from the ashes. As I look forward to the weeks ahead, there is certainly much work to be done. Hot spots will need to be dealt with and roads cleared. Utilities will need to be restored. Businesses will need to get up and running again. And they will. Of that, I have no doubt. Odds are I will be back to work before I am back in to my chateau. I suspect that in the next couple of weeks I will be temporarily put in camp so that I am closer to my work and have a place to stay.
I'd be remiss if I neglected to thank more of the wonderful people who have helped me during this odyssey...
Big thanks to Tony first of all for the long drive to Lac La Biche and out of the danger zone.
Another thank you goes out to my work buddy Adam for taking me in his truck to Spruce Grove.
Many thanks and much love to my grandma Ferne for welcoming me in to her home at a late hour, filling me with good food, taking me shopping for some much-needed clothing and taking good care of me. Thanks too for her little dog Gracie for not raising a ruckus with Drifter, though I'm pretty sure she's figured out who the boss is between the two of them.
Thank you as well to my uncle Lee and aunt Kerri as well as my cousins Brayden and Beau for a great meal last night.
A special thanks to the wonderful lady, whose name I've unfortunately forgotten, in Lac La Biche who saw me sitting alone during a meal at the Bold Centre and took the time to sit and chat with me.
Thanks as well to Chad, a coordinator from work, who set my mind at ease about timelines for going back to work.
I can't wait to get back and start putting our community back together again, though I know it will still be some time before conditions are safe enough to allow it. The list of things I will need to do to get the chateau ship shape is long but manageable. In the meantime, I remain incredibly optimistic when I think of all the challenges my community has overcome....weathering lowering oil prices, facing the the wrath of the uneducated about what our community is all about. We will return. We will support each other. We will rebuild. If there's one word I've heard that has been used to describe Fort McMurray that has stood out in my mind it is "resilient".