Ode to Colorado

For those of you who don’t know, I’m from Colorado. I was born and raised in Denver, and have lived in Colorado for my entire life – mostly Denver, but with some stretches in Greeley, and in Grand Junction.

Colorado has been in the news a lot, particularly this year, but most recently with the heavy rains and flooding that have destroyed large portions of our state. Four people have been declared dead, and hundreds are unaccounted for. Entire towns have been evacuated, some by helicopter as roads have become impassible. Homes have been swept away, cars drowned. There are suddenly giant lakes where, before, vast dry fields covered the landscape. A huge part of our state is, quite literally, underwater.

After a summer of fires, the rains would be a blessing, but for how MUCH and WHERE. We’ve gone from one disaster to another. 

The thing you need to know about Colorado, though, and its residents: we’re resilient. We live in a state that can – and has – go from 90+ degree heat to a snowstorm in the space of a month. We have deserts, plains, and mountains all in one small square of land. We’re literally a mile above sea level just in Denver, and far more in other parts of the state; we breath thin air as a matter of course, and function on less oxygen. Our state is extreme, in weather, in landscape, even in politics.

We’re suffering right now. Where I live was largely unaffected by the flooding: Denver made out with very little in the way of accumulated rain, and we’re already fairly dry, even with more rain predicted. A good part of the area around us, though, was not so lucky – just miles from my house, even, parks were swallowed, roads were covered, highways shut down and property destroyed. At one point, my husband was trapped at work due to flooding on all surrounding streets. Intersections I drove through were shut down, and then evacuated, hours later.

It’s difficult watching your neighbors lose their homes, their livelihoods. You don’t get used to it. Fires and blizzards and shootings and rain – it doesn’t get any easier. I love my state, and its varied people. It’s hard.

We’ll make it. We always do. Colorado attracts people who love seasons, who love the outdoors, love the opportunity to experience so much diversity all without leaving home. I know more people who moved here and hoped to find a job than the other way around. We’re special.

Tonight we’re expecting more rain, and tomorrow. We’ll be mopping up, shoveling out, and rebuilding just for winter to bear down on us. Colorado winters are often no joke. We’re ready.

If you’d like to help in the Colorado recovery effort, you can check out some links here. There are multiple ways to assist in building our beautiful state back up. Anything helps.

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3 responses to “Ode to Colorado”

  1. jenspenden says :

    When I saw the sun come out yesterday, I almost cried. I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life too and have NEVER seen this happen. We may as well have had a hurricane hit. So sad. Praying for our state.

  2. belle0406 says :

    I, too, live in Colorado. A Boulder resident for two years, I’ve been in the thick of it, and as a journalist here, constantly bombarded by the updates and horrific news surrounding this flood. It’s been incredible to watch each community band together and unite during this flooding. Very good timing to see this, since I was in the midst of writing my own thoughts on this recent hardship. Certainly appreciated this post.

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  1. Colorado, my beloved state, floods | Jen's Pen Den - September 16, 2013

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