Saturday, July 08, 2006

Flood Fallout

We returned to Binghamton on the 4th of July and even though it was midnight and I had to work the next morning, we spent an hour driving around the city, looking at the fallout from the floods. Thanks to warm, dry weather, the water had totally receded, but we definitely saw lots of mud and silt in places that have no business being mucky (like 5 feet up on the windows of businesses).

Although the place didn't look, on its face, as flood-ravaged as I had thought it might, there was definitely evidence that a disaster had hit certain houses. The saddest thing was seeing houses with mountains of brown undifferentiated masses of household items. There were many homes with multiple mattresses, couches, and loads of personal effects just dumped on the curb, sometimes a 5-foot-high stack that ran for 20 feet. You couldn't even see the houses for the mounds of junk (many of which were formerly family heirlooms, to be sure).

And the floods didn't discrimate- although there were definitely lots of trailer parks that got hit particularly hard, many of the most elegant, historic homes sit along the river near our house. It was sort of surreal to see people sitting outside of their stately homes in lawn chairs, surrounded by mud and their own junk. I guess mother nature doesn't care how fancy your antiques are.

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