The year of the natural disaster
2005. Does it just seem like yesterday that we started crossing out the “4” on our checks and replacing it with a “5”? Now, here we are, ready to do the same ritual. It seems like 2005 was the year of the natural disaster. We started off with a bang – a horrible, catastrophic natural disaster of a bang – as Asia reeled from the aftereffects of the monstrous tsunami that washed away lives and land on Dec. 26, 2004, and left hundreds of thousands of people dead and many more homeless and destitute.Although we were so far away, the wave struck us here, too. People around the world rallied to provide aid to those devastated. Here at home, finally, the Western Slope’s drought broke after several hot, dry years, and we welcomed the resulting snowpack and rainfall. That’s until a flash flood came over the banks at our place outside Rifle, turning one of our pastures into thick soupy muck, and causing more than one neighboring family to stand guard as they watched Government and Rifle creeks rage through town. Our mini-disasters here at home didn’t even begin to register, though, when put up against an occurrence as devastating as the tsunami. In August, another natural disaster would ravage a large chunk of our own country. When Hurricane Katrina, and later Rita, struck the Gulf Coast, their unrelenting power hit us hard. This time, instead of being hundreds of thousands of miles away, we were less than 1,500 miles away – driving distance as far as my husband Erik and I were concerned.We went to New Orleans to see what we could do to help people and rescue their animals, and came home with memories that still haunt us as well as give us hope. It was an experience of a lifetime – every bit of it, including the stench, the death, the enormity and the process of simply giving a hand, and expecting nothing in return. How much we got back as a result is indescribable. For many people, years are calibrated by the birth of babies, or the passing of loved ones. For me, it was the birth of some friendships I have come to treasure, and letting go of other relationships that need to be given space. We welcomed some new members into our increasingly large family of critters – two alpine goats named Bernardo and Louis, and a Basset hound named Chloe rescued from a sweet woman who could no longer care for her. We also rescued two mischievous black kittens from a temporary animal shelter at a Winn-Dixie supermarket in the middle of New Orleans. I’ll bet you can figure out their names – and no, they’re not named Katrina and Rita. Winn is the more timid of the two (which isn’t saying much), and Dixie, she’s the spitfire. What can I say? We like animals. That was my year – a combination of world events and personal experiences just like your 2005 was. And now, at the crest of yet another turning of the calendar page, I’m wishing all of us the best for 2006.Happy New Year, everyone. Carrie Click is the editor and general manager of The Citizen Telegram in Rifle. She loves turning the pages of the calendar. Carrie can be reached at 625-3245, ext. 101, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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