One step closer to normal

The Redpoll Centre at Shell Place re-opens for business this morning.  The thought of going to work at the regular time, being able to sit at my desk, and see some of my work colleagues for the first time in 41 days, is pretty exciting.  We were scattered with the wind on May 3rd, escaping the flames and finding refuge in multiple communities and provinces.

The "normal" things are stacking up after having been home for over a week and a half.  This time of displacement enhances their flavours.  Each passing day, with each new amenity that comes on stream, life in Fort McMurray is coming back.

I don't smell smoke in the air at all.  That said, I'm convinced that my sniffer is not very good as a neighbour came home yesterday from years of being away traveling the world, and smoke was all she could smell.  As I struggle to find hints of the acrid aroma, I can't help but wonder if the mind plays games with us after all the news coverage, horrific photos and videos.

This weekend felt like one among many.  What I mean is that it was like many other weekends that we've enjoyed in our community over the years.  We did work around the yard, I painted several portraits, we went for walks, and I even threw my pickerel rig in the Clearwater River.  People were out doing what they like to do, in increasing numbers.

Part of the new normal are tales from hundreds of people going into the devastated areas of Abasand, Beaconhill, and Waterways with volunteers from Team Rubicon.  Adam and Meranda popped by to pick up a painting I did of Adam's late father just days before the fire.  They had just been through the experience and managed to retrieve some precious things and find some closure.

"How did you get out?" is also part of the new normal, as over 80,000 of us have a story to tell about May 3rd: how we got out, where we went, and when we got back.

Down the street and around the corner, a private citizen who lost their home is selling #ymmstrong memorabilia: decals, mugs, and that kind of thing.  They aren't doing it to raise money for charity, they are doing it to step forward, and begin to build a new life for themselves.  We were proud to buy several things from them.

Soon, the sound of children playing will fill the Fort McMurray air as they return from finishing off their schooling in communities near and far.  Soon, families will be down in Snye Park, playing, visiting, and laughing.  Soon, more stores will open and community events will begin to reappear.

We have been dealt a significant blow as a community, but we are coming back, resolved to make our community stronger, more resilient and remarkable.


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