I'm not sure at this point how many people have made their return to Fort McMurray but signs of the community coming back to life have been everywhere. The biggest auditory hint of that is no doubt the sound of the countless lawnmowers and trimmers I've been hearing the past couple of days and they continue now even now as I type this.
It's also hard not to miss the many visual signs expressing hope, grit, determination and thanks. I'm not sure how many times I've walked past Fire Hall #3 off of Thickwood Drive but its presence definitely took on a whole new level of meaning when I walked by this afternoon.
I've heard a few stories about firefighters leaving notes for evacuees explaining that they had to use their 4-wheeler to get quickly from point A to point B or to deliver water and other supplies to other fire fighters as they battled the Beast. I've even heard of one group of firefighters leaving a note to thank a home owner for the use of their house after pulling a long, exhausting shift, which is why I found this little thank you written on the door of the Mac's convenience store in Wood Buffalo thanking them for washer fluid to be particularly poignant.
Another sign in the neighbourhood using our flag offered encouragement and hope.
....and another rather large sign close by thanked front line responders from Red Cross as well as West Jet.
I should mention too that, while I don't usually like to put in a plug for large businesses, I certainly will make an exception for West Jet who not only offered me a great price on a flight to Edmonton, but also waived all baggage and handling fees for my luggage and for my cat Drifter.
Thank you one and all!